Syrian FM: Turkey's lack of commitment only obstacle to peace process

Syrian FM: Turkey's lack of commitment only obstacle to peace process
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Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad asked the Turkish side “to be more serious to implement their commitments”

The lack of commitment of the Turkish government is the only obstacle stalling the Syria peace process under the Astana framework, said Faisal Mekdad, Syrian minister of foreign affairs.

"We ask the Turkish side to be more serious to implement their commitments as agreed upon by the Astana process. This is the only problem we are facing, but we believe the efforts of our friends, both the Russians and the Iranians, are going in the correct direction," Mekdad told Russian Sputnik News Agency on Friday, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Russia, Iran and Turkey, the three guarantor states of the Astana process that was designed to find a peace settlement in Syria, have agreed to make further efforts to ensure calm in Syria's Idlib de-escalation area last month in Kazakhstan. 

Mekdad added that the Astana process has so far been "the only viable component that has succeeded on the ground," and resulted in "many successes."

The Syrian administration made clear that Turkey should stop support for the opposition rebels who control the Idlib region before any talks for normalization between the neighboring countries. 

The Syrian minister noted that there have been no contacts or meetings with the Turkish side during the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Week.

"There are no negotiations, there are no contacts, there is nothing at least on the level of foreign ministers," Mekdad said.

Turkey and Syria stepped up contacts to find a political solution to the conflict in Syria as Russia wants to focus more on the war with Ukraine, where it recently suffered serious defeats.

Sources said Turkey's intelligence chief has been to Damascus multiple times over the last few weeks and held meetings with his Syrian counterpart.

Turkey’s president Tayyip Erdogan also expressed willingness to meet with Syria’s leader Assad saying he “would have spoken to him if he came to Uzbekistan” this month where the Shanghai Cooperation Summit was held.