Turkish, Iranian, Russian FMs discuss Syria in Astana
Turkish foreign minister slams journalist for using FETO rhetoric, after the journalist asks a provocative question
By Selen Temizer
The foreign ministers of Turkey, Russia
"I talked with my two counterparts to make the situation better in eastern Ghouta, which was caused by the [Bashar al-Assad] regime. We underlined the need to differ terrorists from civilians," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a joint news conference after the meeting.
Cavusoglu said there was a need to have different strategies for neutralizing terrorists especially in places where civilians live densely.
"We are also against the going of all terrorists to Idlib [in northwestern Syria]. There, they constitute a threat to the people, opposition and to all of us," he stressed.
Cavusoglu said they are not only sensitive to civilians in eastern
Minister slams journalist
He was also asked a provocative question by a so-called "local journalist" about Turkey's Operation Olive Branch.
In response, Cavusoglu said: "I do not see any need to respond to questions asked by Fetullah Terrorist Organization rhetoric. We already made necessary statements about Afrin until today."
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the common efforts of Russia, Turkey
Lavrov also said the U.S. had used force last year over the "groundless reason" of the
"Today, they are threatening in a similar way. It is definitely unacceptable," Lavrov added.
Last April, the U.S. on Thursday struck a Syrian military airbase American officials believed had been used to carry out a deadly suspected chemical attack.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Tehran viewed the Astana process as the only successful step to stop the war in Syria.
"Thanks to Astana, people started to return to Syrian territories," Zarif added.
Three foreign ministers also published a joint statement, which stressed the continuity of joint efforts to decrease violence in the field.
The statement put a strong emphasis on the territorial integrity of Syria and added that the next meeting in Astana would be held in mid-May.
The meeting was also a preparation for the leaders' summit on Syria in Istanbul on April 4.
Astana peace talks were launched on Jan. 23-24, 2017 with the aim of putting an end to violence and improving the humanitarian situation in war-torn Syria.
At the eighth round of Astana talks on Dec. 21-22, the guarantor countries established working groups on exchanges of captives and prisoners, the handover of the deceased, identification of the lost, and clarification of historic areas under UNESCO protection.
* Fatih Hafiz Mehmet contributed to this story from Ankara.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.