Hizballah violations jeopardising Syria peace deal: Turkey FM

Hizballah violations jeopardising Syria peace deal: Turkey FM
Mevlut Cavusoglu has warned for the second time in one week that the Shia paramilitary group must stop breaking the ceasefire and leave Syria to save the upcoming peace talks.
2 min read
04 January, 2017
The funeral procession for Hizballah commander, Hatem Hamadeh, who was killed in Syria [AFP]
The Astana peace deal for Syria could fail before talks even begin if pro-regime paramilitaries continue to violate the peace agreement, the Turkish foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Hizballah was principally responsible for routinely breaking the ceasefire and jeopardising upcoming peace negotiations in the Kazakh capital, Astana.

"If we cannot stop the increasing violations, the Astana process could fail," Cavusoglu said.

"When we look at who commits these violations, it is Hizballah, in particular Shia groups and the regime."

In his interview, the foreign minister also commented on a "confidence crisis" with the United States for failing to provide air support to Operation Euphrates Shield, Turkey's military operations against Islamic State.

"If you are not supporting us in the most significant operation, then why are you based at the Incirlik Airbase?" he said, referring to the US air force presence in south Turkey.

Cavusoglu added that the US was an "important ally" of Turkey, with co-operation between the two countries "in almost every field".

This is not the first time the Turkish foreign minister has spoken against Hizballah. Cavusoglu told reporters on December 29 that the paramilitary group should leave Syria as a precondition for peace.