Pres­i­dent and Putin talk Syria cri­sis in phone call

Cyprus Today - - TURKEY -

TURKEY’S Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan spoke to his Rus­sian coun­ter­part Vladimir Putin by phone on Thurs­day and dis­cussed the sit­u­a­tion in Syria. Mr Er­doğan also dis­cussed the cri­sis in Syria with US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Wed­nes­day. They agreed to stay in close touch.

Turkey con­demned the use of chem­i­cal weapons in Douma, a rebel-held town in Syria’s east­ern Ghouta, Turkey’s for­eign min­istry said in a state­ment on Sun­day.

“We strongly con­demn the at­tack, which there is strong sus­pi­cion was car­ried out by the regime, whose record on use of chem­i­cal weapons is known by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity,” the min­istry said.

Ankara, which has been work­ing with al­lies of Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad for a po­lit­i­cal res­o­lu­tion to the cri­sis in Syria, called for in­ter­na­tional ac­tion against the at­tacks in Douma.

“The Syr­ian regime must give ac­count for the at­tacks in var­i­ous re­gions of the coun­try at dif­fer­ent times,” a spokesman for Mr Er­doğan said on Sun­day.

“The en­tire in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, pri­mar­ily coun­tries that have an in­flu­ence on the Syr­ian regime, has a re­spon­si­bil­ity to take the nec­es­sary steps in or­der to pre­vent sim­i­lar war crimes and crimes against hu­man­ity,” İbrahim Kalın said.

On Tues­day, Mr Er­doğan also crit­i­cised Rus­sia’s stance on the fu­ture of Syria’s Afrin re­gion, say­ing that Ankara it­self would de­cide the de­tails of re­turn­ing the area to the Syr­ian people.

“We know very well who we’ll hand Afrin to. First, let’s talk about hand­ing over ar­eas con­trolled by other coun­tries in Syria to Syria,” Mr Er­doğan told re­porters, dis­miss­ing com­ments from Rus­sia’s for­eign min­is­ter, Sergei Lavrov who on Mon­day said the eas­i­est way to nor­malise the sit­u­a­tion in Afrin was to put the area back un­der the con­trol of Syr­ian gov­ern­ment, the In­ter­fax news agency re­ported.

“When the time comes, we will give Afrin to the people of Afrin per­son­ally, but the tim­ing of this is up to us, we will de­ter­mine it, not Mr Lavrov,” he said.

While Turkey is co­op­er­at­ing with both Rus­sia and Iran to wind down some of the vi­o­lence in Syria, Ankara has long de­manded that Mr As­sad must go and has backed rebels against him.

Mr As­sad’s main back­ers are Moscow and Tehran. Ira­nian Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani has said that Afrin should be handed over to Syria’s army.

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