Russia, Iran, US responsible for Assad violations in South Syria: Turkish FM

Syria: Assad said Idlib chemical attack is totally fabricated

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Russia, Iran and the United States have a responsibility in the violations of the ceasefire in Syria’s Deraa.

“Syria regime guarantor countries are Iran and Russia, opposition’s guarantor country is Turkey. Then the U.S. and Russia made the de-conflict zone deal,” the foreign minister said on Friday.

“The Assad regime attacked those areas, who did the agreements? U.S. and Russia. If those deals are broken, then Geneva, Astana, Sochi meetings will be irrelevant,” he added.

The number of people who fled the Syrian regime attacks in Daraa to border areas of Jordan and Israel rose to 150,000 on Friday, according to the White Helmets civil defense agency in Syria.

For the last 10 days, Daraa has been subjected to intense aerial bombardments and ground attacks, with Syrian regime forces — backed by Shia militia groups — capturing the towns of Busra al-Harir and Nahta.

The United Nations warned on Tuesday that 750,000 lives are in danger in Daraa, and 45,000 people have been displaced.

Turkey doesn’t see positive steps with EU while Austria has presidency

Turkey does not believe positive steps will be taken with the European Union while Austria holds the presidency of the bloc this year, Çavuşoğlu said, reflecting the tensions between Ankara and Vienna.

Çavuşoğlu also said he does not expect positive steps on opening new chapters for Turkey’s EU accession bid, but will discuss visa liberalisation with EU officials.

Austria will take over the rotating six-month presidency of the European Union in July, giving it an important say in setting the agenda at the many meetings between member states. It has said it plans to use its presidency to shift toward preventing further waves of migrant arrival.

F-35 delivery

U.S. Presiden Donald Trump promised that the necessary steps for the sales of the F-35 fighter jets to Turkey would be taken, Çavuşoğlu said.

The U.S. Senate passed a $716 billion defense policy bill in June, taking the first step to blocking the delivery of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets to Turkey.

Turkey will not cut off trade ties to Iran at behest of others

Turkey will not cut off trade ties with Iran at the behest of other countries, Çavuşoğlu said, after the United States this week told countries to cut all imports of Iranian oil from November.

Turkey is dependent on imports for almost all of its energy needs. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last year said Turkey was looking to raise the volume of its annual trade with Iran to $30 billion, from $10 billion.

U.S. President Donald Trump has ramped up pressure on its allies to cut off funding to Iran.