Turkey proposes sending int’l aid convoy to Aleppo

Turkey proposes sending int’l aid convoy to Aleppo

Turkey proposes sending int’l aid convoy to Aleppo

(From L-R) Egypti's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, Iraq's Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Staffan de Mistura, UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria, Turkey's Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, s

Turkey has proposed sending an international aid convoy to Aleppo, the long-besieged Syrian city where around 300,000 people are facing shortages of food, medication and other essential supplies, at a critical meeting held in Swiss city Lausanne with the U.S., Russia and neighboring countries to Syria.

“We made a proposal about it. [We said] we should send an international convoy made up of trailers carrying the flags of different countries and deliver humanitarian aid. This will have symbolic value and diminish the possibility of this convoy being attacked,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in a press conference after the Oct. 15 meeting.

Recalling the attack on the U.N. and Syrian Arab Red Crescent convoy near northern Aleppo on Oct. 4, Çavuşoğlu suggested that forming an international convoy would reduce the risk of such attack. 
“First of all, every party should guarantee that those convoys do not get hit,” he said.

The possibility of humanitarian aid is closely related to the settlement of a cease-fire of at least three days, Çavuşoğlu added, noting that the proposal for an international convoy found support from several parties at the meeting, especially from the U.N.’s Syria envoy, Staffan de Mistura. 

De Mistura previously appealed to save Aleppo, warning that the city faced total destruction and urging the Syria-based jihadist group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, previously known as al-Nusra, to leave the rebel-held east for civilians to get aid.

‘Al-Nusra should leave Aleppo’

Çavuşoğlu also urged jihadist groups affiliated with al-Nusra to leave Aleppo, saying the parties had discussed the possibility of settling a cease-fire on the condition that al-Nusra’s presence in the region should be ended. 
“The terrorists of al-Nusra should be cleared from Aleppo. There were different opinions in the meeting. Some said that first al-Nusra should be gone and then the cease-fire could be settled. Others said the cease-fire should be declared first so that the opposition groups can separate themselves from al-Nusra, and then other terrorists would leave the region,” he added. 

“But all the attacks of the regime targeting moderate opposition groups should also be stopped immediately,” Çavuşoğlu also said. 

Syria talks failed to form negotiation 

Seven foreign ministers of the neighboring countries to Syria - Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Jordan and Egypt - sat with the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Lausanne on Oct. 15 to discuss the future of Syria.

The meeting, convened by Kerry, was declared to have an agenda to form a new path to peace since direct talks between U.S. and Russia was inconclusive to form a cease-fire amid Russia’s bombardment of rebel-held eastern Aleppo with Syria continued. 

Kerry said that there was a consensus on a number of options that could lead to a cease-fire, but conceded that there had been some tense moments. 

“I would characterize this as an example of what we wanted, which was a brainstorming and a very candid first-time discussion,” he said on Oct. 15, Reuters reported. 

“A number of ideas came from the number of different ministers as we hoped that might be able to shape some different approaches,” he added.

Syria group convenes in London 

Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu also underlined the importance of pursuing political negotiations, even though the meeting was unable to form a consensus. 

“Since this is not the International Syria Support Group [ISSG] meeting, there were no conclusive decisions. Of course there are different opinions. We, as Turkey, shared our stance on settling a cease-fire and what kind of steps to take in the process of solution clearly. First of all, bombardment and all kinds of attacks should stop and the conflicts should be stopped conclusively,” he said, stressing the “utmost importance” of a “total cease-fire.” 

“We agreed on a political solution, but in order to eliminate doubts on certain issues, a total cease-fire should be provided. Of course the struggle against ISIL and other terrorist organizations should continue. The advancement achieved against ISIL in Manbij continues, and many more regions will be cleaned from ISIL soon,” Çavuşoğlu added.