Russia and coalition forces should find solution for Idlib: Erdoğan
The ongoing developments in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib could lead to “heavy consequences” if not prevented, said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sept. 16, stressing to take action with Russia and coalition forces.
The most important issue of the meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sept. 17 will be Idlib, Erdoğan told journalists on his route from Azerbaijan to Turkey.
“Let’s all take steps against terror groups among rebels. But one should not be in a position to bomb there on pretext,” he said, recalling the Syrian regime and Russia’s military offensive in the rebel-stronghold Idlib, which is said to be against terror groups there.
“We will discuss bilateral issues and particularly the issue of Syria,” he said, elaborating on a bilateral meeting with Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi in Russia.
The president warned against “unbearable” results of ongoing military attacks in Idlib. “We should find a solution with Russia and coalition forces without giving any chance to this,” he said.
Erdoğan said he would discuss the issue of Idlib both on the sidelines of the upcoming United Nations General Assembly meetings in New York and during his visit to Germany.
The situation in the rebel-stronghold is silent in the past few days after the demarche of Ankara, but Turkey has yet to be satisfied over this break of military attacks in Idlib.
“Turkey undertakes the political and humanitarian burden. Some 3.5 million people are residing in Turkey. Turkey will be the place for shelter for people in the case of a refugee influx,” said the president.
The Turkish government has made contingency preparations on the Syrian side of the border, he said.
“We cannot act like the West. Our behavior will be more protective,” Erdoğan said, noting that this attitude has a heavy burden.
“We have been meeting our responsibility in Syria. We have been fighting all the terrorist groups. Likewise, we have a fight against terror in Idlib too. We have 12 observation points there. Russia has 10, Iran has a few. We are making efforts to protect innocent people there with these observation points,” said Erdoğan when asked about a possibility of a joint operation with Russia in order to open a humanitarian corridor.
The president drew attention to the “regime’s terror” in Idlib.
“How will we take measures against this wave of terror? What will the coalition forces do? What will be the approach of Mr. Putin from now on?” he said.
“Let’s take steps together and take measures against terror groups among the opposition, but not be in a position of bombing there on pretexts,” he also said, adding, “armistice and ceasefire is valid for all.”
Erdoğan called on relevant parties for burden sharing about the refugee problem. Ankara has reinforced its observation points there and has taken other measures as well, because Turkey is the most vulnerable country regarding the situation in Syria.
“All countries have parceled Syria, despite the rhetoric of territorial integrity there,” the president said, noting that other countries have several military bases.
Turkey does not have those kinds of ambitions, but focuses on making Syria’s new constitution, holding elections both within and outside of Syria.
“In this sequel, let’s all leave Syria together. There is no other way out,” Erdoğan said. He recalled Iran and Russia’s rhetoric that it was the Syrian regime that invited these foreign troops.
“If you are invited by the regime, we are invited by the Syrian people. This is the difference. We do not recognize the regime. We recognize the Syrian people,” he said.
The people of Idlib are holding Turkish flags, not Russian, American, German or French, because Turkey did not leave the suffered people alone, said the president.