Turkey to push back Assad forces from observation posts, Erdoğan says
Turkey is determined to push back Syrian regime forces from Turkey's observation posts in Idlib, northwestern Syria, by the end of February, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Feb. 15.
“The problem in Idlib could not be resolved if the regime forces do not withdraw from areas determined in the Sochi agreement,” Erdoğan said at an award distribution ceremony held at the provincial directorate of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Istanbul.
“We would be glad if we could do this with the support of our friends,” he added.
Underlining Turkey's resolute stance to clear Syria of terrorists, he said Turkey has tried to prevent the occupation and annexation of the Syrian territories.
It is impossible to prevent new migration waves to the Turkish borders and ensure the return of Syrian refugees from Turkey unless the Idlib issue is resolved, the president said.
The U.S.' Middle East plan threatens the regional peace and tranquility, Erdoğan said.
"I would like to state once again that this so-called peace plan is nothing but a dream that threatens the regional peace and tranquility,” Erdoğan told reporters upon his return to Turkey after his Pakistan visit.
Erdoğan stressed that Turkey will never allow “legitimization of invasion, annexation and destruction”.
Noting that neither the West nor Europe or Africa accept the so-called peace plan, he said Turkey will get favorable result at the UN.
He also called on the Islamic countries and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to take clear stance against the plan.
On Jan. 28, U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled the controversial “Deal of the Century,” to end one of the longest-running disputes in the Middle East.
Trump proposed an independent Palestinian state but with the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank and Jerusalem as Israel's "undivided capital".
The so-called peace plan unilaterally annuls previous UN resolutions on the Palestinian issue and suggests giving Israel almost everything it demanded.
Turkey has slammed the so-called “peace” plan as an effort to "justify Israeli occupation and annexation of Jerusalem and the West Bank."
The EU doesn't recognize Israel's sovereignty over territories it has occupied since 1967.
EU foreign affairs ministers will discuss the topic at meeting in Brussels. U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo was invited to join the debate.
Erdoğan also spoke about the situation in Libya and reiterated Turkey's support for Libya's UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).
Turkey will continue doing what is necessary in line with the training and security deals signed with Libya's Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, the president said.
The UN Security Council adopted a resolution Wednesday mandating a multinational operation to oversee a lasting cease-fire in Libya.
The resolution calls for an immediate cease-fire, an end to the supply of arms to both sides, adherence to a weapons embargo and the withdrawal of mercenaries and forbids interference by any member states in the crisis in Libya.
Some 14 countries supported the decision, but Russia abstained due to the statement on the withdrawal of mercenaries.