Turkey urges 'nationwide' truce in Syria after Aleppo liberation
Iran Press TV
Fri Dec 23, 2016 7:7AM
The Turkish foreign minister has called for a "nationwide" ceasefire in Syria and negotiations between Damascus and foreign-backed militants who were fully driven out of Aleppo on Thursday.
Mevlut Cavusoglu made the call on Thursday at a news conference on the sidelines of an emergency meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia which is among the key supporters of militants in Syria along with Turkey.
The Syrian government "must return to the negotiating table for direct talks with the opposition for a genuine political transition in Syria," he said.
The demand came as the Syrian army said that it would continue its push against terrorists until the liberation of "the last bit of the homeland's soil" from the foreign-backed militants.
Until recently, Ankara persisted in its demand that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad leave office or be ousted by force. Turkey has long served as the main transit route for Syria-bound militants.
Those militants, however, have hit back in a series of high-profile bombings which have plunged Turkey into a security crisis, crippling its mainstay tourism industry.
Cavusolgu on Tuesday joined his Iranian and Russian counterparts in Moscow to discuss the way forward toward peace and security in Syria.
On Friday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said he expected new Syria peace talks backed by Moscow, Ankara and Tehran to take place in Kazakhstan in the middle of January.
They would focus on discussing what needs to be done to get a nationwide ceasefire for Syria in place, Gatilov added.
Turkish troops are "illegally" deployed inside the Syrian territory, mainly to confront Kurdish militants who are the key ally of the US in its military operations in the region.
Ankara's incursion has not only drawn the Syrian government's condemnation, it has also put it on a collision course with its major ally, Washington.
On Thursday, Turkey suffered the biggest loss so far of its military campaign in Syria after 14 of its soldiers were reportedly killed by Daesh terrorists. The Takfiri group also claimed to have captured Turkey's two German-made state-of-the-art Leopard main battle tanks.
Cavusoglu further urged foreign militants to withdraw from Syria. "We should send out a strong message that the foreign militias should leave Syria right away," he said.
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