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Turkey Has to Opt Either to Be a Neighbor or an Enemy to Syria: Al-Moallem

BEIRUT, (ST)- The Syrian state has given the terrorists in Idleb more than a chance for a settlement, most recent of which is the current ceasefire agreement, Deputy Premier Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Walid al-Moallem told the Beirut-based "al-Mayadeen TV" on Wednesday .

He stressed that the President of the Turkish regime Recep Tayyib Erdonag has not implemented the agreement reached in Sochi between the three guarantor states of Astana process regarding Idleb and he has done nothing so far to solve the problem there, "therefore the terrorists have to leave to their home countries".

  "Western countries and Turkey used to encourage terrorists to come to Syria and they provided them with all forms of support," said al-Moallem, adding "but now, after those terrorists have been defeated  they don't want them back. They only want their children and this is a problem that the UN has to tackle." He affirmed that those terrorists have three options; to stay as prisoners in Syria, to be killed or to return to their homes and I think it is better for them to return".

Neighbor or enemy

The Syrian top diplomat made it clear that "Turkey has to opt either to be a neighbor or an enemy to Syria. And, ifTurkey chooses to be a neighbor, there is the Adana agreement, which guarantees the security of the borders between the two countries,  and there are also the principles of good neighborhoods ," al-Moallem said, pointing out that if Turkey practically abides by these principles it has first to show good will by withdrawing its forces from Syria and ceasing its support for terrorists.

"If Erdogan wants the Syrian refugees to return home, he has to coordinate this process with the Syrian government in order to guarantee their safe return to the areas they had left not to carry out an ethnic cleansing in a specific area, al-Moallem asserted."

He clarified that after Syria achieves its goal of eliminating terrorism, it will focus on other priorities, including forcing the occupying foreign troops to pull out of the Syrian territories, noting that there are legitimate means to force them to leave.

Al-Moallem described the reopening of the al-Boukamal-al-Qaim border crossing between Syria and Iraq as a "natural development and a good step", expressing hope that this move will be well-invested in boosting relations between the two countries.

Constitutional Committee

Concerning the constitutional committee on Syria, the foreign minister reiterated that  the committee's work should be independent and based on respecting Syria's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and it should be led by the Syrians and facilitated by the United Nations.

The constitution is a sovereign issue and any participant in the committee's work must be objective and must serve Syria's interests not those of Turkey or other countries,  al-Moallem reiterated.

He reaffirmed that the Syrian government welcomes the return of all Syrian refugees and that it is willing to providethe support necessary to guarantee a safe and stable life for them.

The Kurds

Concerning the Kurds, al-Moallem said "not all the Kurds are Qasad [US-backed SDF militia]. They are Syrian citizens and the Syrian government deals with them on this basis, but those who have been cooperating with foreign occupation [the US occupation] against the interests of their homeland are not good citizens and they should be held accountable."

He said that the separatist Qasad militia must not count on the American promises, stressing that all the areas controlled by Qasad will return to the sovereignty of the Syrian state sooner or later.

 Hamda Mustafa

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