Cavusoglu regrets that “the peace process in Syria has been severely damaged”
The president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, stressed Tuesday that “there is no need to open a conflict with Russia” for the attack on Monday in the Syrian province of Idlib, where seven Turkish soldiers died.
“We do not need to get involved in a conflict or enter into a serious contradiction with Russia at this time. Why do I say this? Because there are significant strategies put in place right now,” Erdogan said in a conciliatory tone during his return to Turkey from Ukraine, where he has met with his counterpart, Volodomir Zelenski.
Among the initiatives that both share is the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft defense system, a purchase that has upset the White House and has caused Turkey's exclusion from the N-F-35 program developed by NATO.
The words of the Turkish leader have taken place a day after seven soldiers died in a bombing carried out by the forces of Syrian President Bashar al Assad in the area. The Turkish army, meanwhile, has “neutralized” 76 soldiers in retaliation for the attack, as Erdogan has reported, according to a statement from the Turkish Presidency.
“Yesterday seven soldiers and an official died in Idlib. This is a clear violation of the agreement. For the regime, of course, there will be consequences. Yesterday we responded immediately and said: 'Whatever'. After that we neutralized about 76 members of the regime there, “he specified before pointing out that” a large number of them are dead and some are injured. ”
Turkey and Russia agreed in September 2018 that the Idlib region would be a relaxation zone, in which military attacks and offensives would be prohibited.
During the last days, Erdogan has accused Moscow of violating the agreements and “looking the other way” in relation to the escalation of violence by Syrian forces and their allies in Idlib. This same Tuesday, the president has had a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with whom he has addressed the situation in the country.
Erdogan, who stressed that the “military observation posts in Turkey play a vital role,” has insisted that they “remain in place.” “Fortifications are also necessary. We cannot allow a new war, a civil massacre and a wave of migration in Idlib,” he said.
He has also urged the international community to “assume responsibility in Idlib” and has stated that “Turkey wants to see concrete measures”. “Turkey is doing a great job but we want concrete actions. Otherwise, we will begin to open other avenues,” he warned.
For his part, the country's Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, has lamented that “the peace process in Syria has been severely damaged” and has said that Ankara remains committed to promoting the dialogue with Moscow to “keep alive the Astana and Sochi agreements, strengthen them, and achieve a political solution in Syria. ”
However, he has defended the reaction of the Government to the attack against the Turkish convoy and has argued that Turkey “will not tolerate the repetition of such attacks by Syria on its troops.”
Thus, Cavusoglu has insisted that “such attacks cannot be tolerated” and has accused Syrian forces of acting with increasing “insolence”, according to information from the newspaper 'Hurriyet'.
“Ankara is trying to keep the peace effort in Syria in cooperation with Russia despite the advances of the Syrian Government and the deadly clashes between the Turkish and Syrian forces,” he continued before waiting that “disapproves of the pretext that Russia does not can completely control the Syrian regime. ”
In a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, after the attack, Cavusoglu reiterated that “the aggressiveness of the regime has to be stopped immediately.” “That is the message I gave yesterday to Lavrov. The deployment of troops in Idlib seeks to strengthen the Turkish observation posts to detect possible violations of the agreement,” he said.
The United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs estimates that more than 520,000 people have been forced to move in northwestern Syria during the past two months, of which 80 percent are women and children.
RUSSIA ENSURES THAT THE TURKISH FORCES MOVED WITHOUT NOTICE
Russian forces have justified what happened and stressed that the Turkish military moved on the ground without warning when Syrian forces were preparing to carry out a series of operations against terrorists in Idlib.
“Turkish military detachments made overnight transfers from February 2 to 3 in the Idlib distention zone without notifying the Russian side, so they were under fire that Syrian government troops had opened against terrorists west of Saraqib, “said the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria, according to information from the Sputnik news agency.
As he explained, the Russian Aerospace Force exercises permanent airspace control over the Idlib distention zone, where there would have been no incursions of Turkish fighters or attacks against Syrian Army positions.
However, the Turkish Ministry of Defense has explained that the attacked military were part of the reinforcements sent to Idlib to prevent an escalation of violence and that the place of their deployment had been agreed in advance.