Turkey expresses concerns over legitimization of YPG in east Syria
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif came together in a teleconference on April 22 as the three guarantor countries under the Astana Process.
A written statement issued by the Turkish Foreign Ministry highlighted issues discussed at the meeting and the Turkish stance on crucial matters concerning the developments in Syria, particularly in Idlib and the east of Euphrates.
“Çavuşoğlu briefed his counterparts on Turkey’s stabilization activities in the field, following Turkey’s disturbance of the fait accompli by the PKK/YPG terrorist organization in the east of the Euphrates,” read the statement.
Çavuşoğlu expressed Turkey’s concerns on the ongoing acts of terror by the YPG and continued attempts to legitimize it as a result of the failure to fully remove the YPG from the regions as foreseen by the Memorandum of Understanding of Oct. 22, 2019.
The memorandum of understanding was brokered between Turkey and Russia in the wake of Turkey’s unilateral military operation into areas in northeastern Syria under the YPG’s control. The deal allowed Turkey to create a safe zone between Jarablus and Tal Abyad.
Ceasefire holds in Idlib
The Astana partners have also reviewed the developments in Idlib province of Syria where a ceasefire has been holding since early March as a result of Ankara-Moscow deal.
“The parties expressed their satisfaction in the decrease of tension in Idlib thanks to the Additional Protocol of 5 March 2020 to the Memorandum on Stabilization of the Situation in the Idlib De-escalation Area. Minister Çavuşoğlu emphasized the importance of making the ceasefire established by the Additional Protocol a lasting one, shared information about the steps taken by Turkey to this end and underlined that lasting ceasefire constitutes a fundamental necessity to advance the political process,” the statement said.
The parties also stressed the importance of furthering the political process in line with the U.N. Security Council resolution 2254 and expressed their wish that the third round of the Constitutional Committee meetings could be held at the earliest possible time with the facilitation of the U.N. Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen. “Minister Çavuşoğlu reiterated Turkey’s expectation of concrete progress in the third round of the Constitutional Committee meetings in accordance with its mandate,” it read.
Focus on fight against coronavirus
The three ministers have also discussed the potential spread of the coronavirus in Syria. “In the meeting, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu underlined the importance attached by Turkey to the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 in Syria and, to that end, the necessity to increase coordinated international efforts.
In this context, Minister Çavuşoğlu emphasized the need for the uninterrupted continuation of humanitarian assistance activities towards Syria via Turkey,” read the statement.