Iran hits back at Syria truce criticism from Turkey

Tehran (AFP) – Iran has hit back at “unconstructive” Turkish allegations that Tehran’s allies were violating a fragile ceasefire in Syria, accusing rebels of breaking the truce.

“The current ceasefire in Syria has been violated repeatedly by the anti-government armed opposition groups,” foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said Wednesday.

“(Turkey) should take necessary measures to deal with several instances of ceasefire violation by these groups and at the same time refrain from taking unreal stances and accusing other parties.”

He was responding to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who on Wednesday accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government of violating a ceasefire Ankara brokered with regime backer Moscow last week.

Cavusoglu warned that the “violations” were jeopardising planned peace talks in Kazakhstan later this month.

Ghasemi criticised the “unconstructive remarks” and said they could “further complicate the current situation” in Syria.

Despite backing opposite sides in the conflict, Ankara and Moscow have worked closely to broker the ceasefire and plan the Astana talks, which Cavusoglu said could take place on January 23.

Regime ally Iran is also involved in organising the talks, and top official Alaeddin Boroujerdi was in Damascus on Wednesday for talks with Assad.