“This latest chemical weapons attack has clearly demonstrated that the cease-fire in Syria is in serious jeopardy,” Ankara’s Ambassador to the UN Feridun Sinirlioglu told Anadolu Agency.
“We expect the cease-fire to be properly implemented and the political process in Geneva to be taken forward in a serious manner.”
Sinirlioglu said that failing to fulfill these two conditions would present a conundrum.
“If they are not met, the U.S. has said it is ‘prepared to do more’. We note these remarks with high consideration. In response, our president has essential said we are ready to give the necessary support,” he said.
Washington’s Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley Friday told the Security Council that the U.S. is “prepared to do more” in the wake of the U.S. strike on a Syrian military airbase.
Fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles fired from two U.S. destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean hit Shayrat Airfield, which American officials believe was used to launch the deadly chemical weapons attack.
The gas attack on Khan Shaykhun, Idlib left some 100 men, women, and children dead and more than 500 injured, sparking international outrage.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday called the U.S. military action “significant”, and urged further “result-oriented steps to protect the people of Syria”.
For Sinirlioglu, the most immediate step is towards a political solution.
“As indicated in the remarks by U.S. permanent representative [Haley], this is reaching a political resolution as quickly as possible through the Geneva negotiations. And this resolution in turn is tied to a meaningful transition process,” Sinirlioglu said.
“The transition should be towards empowering the Syrian people to exercise their right to self-government within the context of a democratic constitution, and free and fair elections,” he added.
Sinirlioglu said the Bashar al-Assad regime was responsible for the deaths of more than 600,000 people and the displacement of more than 12 million, and therefore presents the biggest obstacle on the path to stability and security in Syria.
“We hope that the [U.S.] operation will create the expected impact. We hope that there will not be a need for more, common sense will prevail, and this brutality, these massacres that have been going on for more than six years now will come to an end,” he said.
The ambassador cited Turkish government statements saying that the use of a nerve agent was detected during the treatment of chemical weapons attack victims on the Turkey-Syria border in the presence of World Health Organization (WHO) experts.
Regarding Russia’s position in the equation, Sinirlioglu stressed that the establishment of facts would lead to improvements.
“Russia has not suggested that it would continue to stand behind the regime even if it has used chemical weapons. Therefore, we believe that Russia will fulfill its responsibilities once the regime’s culpability has been proven,” he said.
Sinirlioglu also called on the Security Council to approve a draft resolution jointly submitted by the U.S., Britain, and France that condemns the chemical weapons attack.
That draft was not even discussed during a Wednesday emergency session at the Council after Russia, a permanent member, vehemently objected to its wording as a "provocation", and called its authors "irresponsible".
The draft resolution called on the Syrian government to “cooperate fully” with the fact-finding mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
The resolution notably asked the regime to provide the mission with wide-ranging military information, including flight plans and logs, information on helicopter squadrons, and access to relevant military bases.
Tuesday’s attack on Khan Shaykhun was the most horrific chemical weapons attack in the war-torn country since a similar attack in eastern Damascus in August 2013, WHO said.
The Ghouta attack killed more than 1,300 civilians, most of them women and children, according to local and international human rights groups.