Turkish FM criticizes Russian airstrikes on Idlib
ANKARAForeign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Sept. 25 criticized recent Russian airstrikes in the Syrian rebel stronghold of Idlib, saying the bombardments killed several civilians and moderate opposition members in the region.
Speaking a televised interview, Çavuşoğlu also warned that violations of the fragile recent ceasefire targeting civilians could put the Astana agreement at risk.
“If they continue arbitrary bombing everywhere, the outcome might be Aleppo. There could be the risk of a new migration wave,” he said.
Turkey has suggested to Iran and Russia that the three countries could jointly determine the location of “terrorists” in Idlib, Çavuşoğlu noted, adding that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would discuss the issue with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
According to the Astana agreement between Turkey, Iran and Russia, the de-escalation zone for Idlib envisages monitoring around the province by Russians and Iranians and inside the province by Turkey, he noted.
The three countries concluded months-long discussions after agreeing to set up de-escalation zones in four different regions of Syria, including Idlib, for six months, as well as a joint coordination center to monitor the truce between the Syrian regime and moderate opposition groups.
The de-escalation zones will include, fully or partly, Eastern Ghouta, the provinces of Idlib, Homs, Latakia, Aleppo, and Hama, according to a joint statement issued by the three guarantor countries following the sixth round of Astana process talks in Kazakhstan’s capital on Sept. 15.
As part of the agreement, the guarantor countries also decided to form a joint Iranian-Russian-Turkish coordination center aimed at coordinating the activities of de-escalation control forces in the safe zones.