Bashar al-Jaafari, head of the Syrian delegation in the 12th round of the Astana peace talks in the Kazakh capital of Nur-Sultan, criticized Turkey for failing to honor its obligation to remove the remaining terrorist groups from Syria’s Idlib province, saying Ankara keeps supporting Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group, which controls most of the province.
Jaafari also noted that the final statement of the Astana talks included positive points, some of which were discussed for the first time, especially the rejection of the US administration’s decision to recognize Syria’s Golan Heights as part of Israel.
He added that the agenda of the 12th round of Astana format was rich and focused on the fight against terrorism, SANA reported.
“There is terrorism in Idlib, which is recognized by everyone, including those who attended the Astana meetings, even the Turkish delegation, because that delegation admits that 85% of terrorists in Idlib are from Jabhat al-Nusra, and everyone knows that the Turkish regime supports this terror organization and other groups affiliated to it in Idlib,” he added.
The top Syrian diplomat then noted that Turkey should ensure the separation of terrorist groups from “moderate armed groups” and remove the terrorist organizations from Idlib.
He said the Sochi agreement stipulates that the Turkish side should withdraw terrorist groups to the west by 15-20 kilometers in order to reopen the Aleppo-Idlib-Damascus highway and clear that area from terrorists, but Turkey has not fulfilled its obligations.
The dilemma in the Astana talks is represented by the lack of seriousness of the Turkish side in fulfilling its pledges and commitments, he deplored.
Jaafari went on to say that all the unilateral economic measures by the United States and the European Union against Syria are illegal because they were not issued by the UN Security Council, branding the measures as an act of “economic terrorism”.
He then reiterated that the presence of American, French, British, and Turkish forces on the Syrian territories without permission from the Syrian government is illegal and those foreign forces must leave Syria immediately.
“Turkey now occupies about 6,000 square kilometers of Syrian territory in the north of the country, including Efrin, Jarablos, and other towns, not to mention Idlib, and is now constructing a 70-km-long wall to separate Manbej from Aleppo and imposing Turkish language in Syrian school, which makes Turkey’s occupation of Syrian territory four times worse than Israeli occupation in terms of area,” he added.
Jaafari said the Turkish government has provided terrorist organizations in Idleb with dozens of rocket launchers and toxic materials for use against civilians.
“A meeting for terrorist organizations in Idlib was held a few days ago in the border town of Atma with Turkish directives and in the presence of Turkish intelligence, which gave instructions on how to act if the Syrian Arab Army and its allies set out to liberate Idlib from terrorism,” Jaafari explained.
“Syria will not allow anyone to work towards dividing it, and this is a red line, and these policies which violate international law will not succeed in any part of Syria” he underlined.
Jaafari finally noted that a recent OCHA survey confirms that more than 95% of the civilians in al-Rukban Camp want to return to their homes, which means that the US is holding 95% of the displaced Syrians in the camp hostage in order to blackmail the Syrian government.