Turkey to propose Syrian ceasefire before Geneva II

Ankara, Jan 5: Turkey plans to call on the Syrian warring parties to cease fire ahead of the Geneva II conference as the Syrian opposition wants to participate in the peace talks under a “peaceful environment”.

Ankara will discuss the ceasefire proposal in “meetings with international community and Iran,” a Turkish diplomat told Xinhua ahead of a meeting between Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad-Javad Zarif in Istanbul Saturday.

The Syrian National Coalition, the opposition umbrella based in Istanbul, conveyed their expectation for a ceasefire to the Turkish minister during a meeting last week, according to the diplomat.

The Syrian opposition group is hesitant to attend Geneva II, according to the diplomat, while Ankara urges the group to participate in the talks in order to voice their perspective.

Turkey, once an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but now a leading voice urging his ouster, shelters more than 500,000 Syrian refugees and has reportedly provided Syrian rebel leaders with sanctuary.

IANS