Turkey, Russia say ‘military action unnecessary in Idlib’
Turkey and Russia, co-signers of the Idlib agreement, have re-affirmed their commitment for the full implementation of the ceasefire in the rebel-held Syrian province as Russian President Vladimir Putin has underlined there would not be a need for large scale military action there.
“I have every reason to believe we will achieve our goals,” Putin said, referring to the demilitarized zone set up by Russia and Turkey in Idlib, a northwestern province of Syria.
“And that means, no large scale military actions are expected there,” he said.
“Military action for the sake of military action is unnecessary,” Putin said.
Turkey and Russia signed an agreement in mid-September that stipulates the removal of all radical groups from the demilitarized zone inside the Idlib province by Oct. 15 in a bid to avert a large scale military offensive by the Syrian army into the last rebel-held bastion. Both Turkey and Russia underline that the agreement is in function and that they are determined to achieve the desired goals in the Idlib province.
Presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın, who is the chief foreign policy advisor of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has recalled that the deal on Idlib had been appreciated by the international community and underlined that they have already started to see its results.
“What do I mean by this? If this agreement would not be provided thanks to the initiatives of our president, we would probably witness a big humanitarian tragedy in Idlib and a massive flow of refugees would not only hit Turkey but also other regional countries and Europe,” Kalın said.
The details of the agreement on drawing the boundaries of the demilitarized zone are being discussed between the Turkish and Russian authorities without issues, said the spokesperson.
On the question of where all these radical groups are being withdrawn, including al-Nusra affiliated terrorists, Kalın denied speculations they would come to Turkey.
“Let me say this: No one is coming to Turkey. Everyone is in their own place now. They are pulling back to the zones set by the agreement,” he said.
Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) is actively working in the field through constant dialogue with opposition groups as well as some other groups in order to avoid any clashes in the province, Kalın said.
“Our objective is to prevent a military offensive from the Syrian regime, and at the same time, attacks against the Syrian and Russian positions from the Idlib province. Until now, this objective has overwhelmingly been fulfilled. And after that, we will not allow any mobilization that would break this. In this respect, our responsibility is big,” the presidential spokesperson said.
Although Turkey is responsible in carrying out this deal, it should not be left alone by the international community, he said.
“The international community should bear the load as well by political, diplomatic initiatives. The upcoming four-way summit is one of them. Supplying humanitarian aid is another way to help. The winter is coming and Turkey cannot provide assistance to 3.5 million people in Idlib alone. This is also the responsibility of the international community, the United Nations and the European Union,” Kalın added.
The four-way summit Kalın had referred to is a meeting in either late October or early November with the participation of leaders from Turkey, Russia, Germany and France in Istanbul.