The international community is beginning to realize Ankara's crucial role in paving the way for a permanent solution in war-torn Syria thanks to ongoing Turkey-led operations, the head of the Syrian Turkmen Assembly in Turkey said yesterday.
Turkey-led Operation Euphrates Shield began in late August 2016 to improve security, support coalition forces and eliminate the terror threat along the Turkish border using Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters backed by Turkish artillery and jets.
"Wherever Turkey goes to clear terrorists from an area and provide security, it succeeds," Emin Bozoğlan, who is currently in Geneva to attend the Syria peace talks, told Anadolu Agency (AA) over the phone.
He said Turkey's power in the international arena was now more apparent due to the success of Operation Euphrates Shield, adding this could also be observed at the talks in Geneva.
"The PYD [the PKK terrorist group's affiliate in Syria] is not at the table because Turkey doesn't want it, and this is the right approach," he said.
According to Bozoğlan, the recent liberation of the city of Jarablus as well as the strategic town of al-Bab in Syria is a positive development not only for Turkey's national security but also for the Syrian opposition wanting a terrorist-free Syria.
He added that the Syrian opposition always supports the territorial integrity of Syria and blamed the international community for backing terrorist groups. "The U.S. government is supporting the PYD and it threatens peace in Syria. If they [the U.S.] leave Syria to the Syrian people, peace can be achieved," Bozoğlan said.
The Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the People's Protection Units (YPG), are Syrian offshoots of the PKK, which is recognized as a terrorist group by Turkey, the EU and the U.S. While Turkey considers the PYD/YPG as Syrian affiliates of the PKK, neither the EU nor the U.S. regards the groups as its offshoots.
Russia calls for direct talks between Syrian opponents
Russia on Tuesday called for the opposing sides in the Syrian peace talks to negotiate directly.
In an interview with Anadolu Agency (AA), Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said: "Direct talks, that is what we [have been] calling for from the very beginning. Unfortunately, this has not happened until now."
Gatilov, whose government supports Bashar Assad's regime, is expected to meet the opposition delegation on Wednesday in Geneva. He said he would listen to the opposition's view of the current situation.
On Monday, Nasr al-Hariri, the head of the opposition delegation, said he recognized the "openness" of Russian officials in their approach to discussions.
The latest round of talks to find a resolution to the six-year conflict began on Thursday last week following the suspension of negotiations last April.
China and Russia veto U.N. resolution on Syria sanctions for chemical weapons use
Russia and China on Tuesday vetoed a U.N. resolution backed by Western powers that would have imposed sanctions on the Syrian regime over chemical weapons use.
The measure drafted by Britain, France and the United States won nine votes in favor at the Security Council, while three countries opposed it - China, Russia and Bolivia. Kazakhstan, Ethiopia and Egypt abstained.
U.N. resolutions require nine positive votes and no veto to be adopted.
It was the seventh time that Russia, Assad regime's top military ally, has used its veto power to shield the regime.
China, also one of the five veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council, has joined Russia in vetoing six resolutions on Syria.
The resolution would have put 11 Syrians, mainly military commanders, and 10 entities linked to chemical attacks in 2014 and 2015 on a U.N. sanctions blacklist.
The measure followed a U.N.-led investigation that concluded in October that the Syrian air force had dropped chlorine barrel-bombs from helicopters on three opposition-held villages in 2014 and 2015.
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