EXCLUSIVE: Turkey promised a large-scale war in Syria, Russia is ready to respond
ANKARA, DAMASCUS, MOSCOW, (BM) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a statement in which he promised to launch a large-scale military operation in Syria to help controlled militants, declaring decisive action, including against Russia, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing several news agencies.
“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced today, February 19, that the Turkish military operation in Idlib is inevitable, and that he made a final decision on this issue, rejecting the Russian proposal to resolve the conflict. The Turkish leader said that Turkey will not leave Idlib to the Syrian regime, and she is determined to turn it into a safe area and will achieve this despite continuing dialogue with the Russian side. Negotiations held yesterday in Moscow between the Turkish and Russian delegations ended in failure, as Russia came out with a proposal to limit the presence of Turkey in the border strip 16 kilometers north of Idlib,” the InosMI publication quoted the Turkish media as saying.
If Turkey begins a military operation in Syrian Idlib, the international community will perceive this as an invasion, Mahmoud Afandi, secretary of the Syrian opposition movement People’s Diplomacy, told RIA Novosti.
“It’s one thing to start an operation against Kurdish forces, which Turkey considers to be terrorists, but it’s completely different to start military operations against the army of a sovereign state and a member of the United Nations. This will be considered invasion, occupation, and this is prohibited by international law,” Afandi said.
He also emphasized that an attack on Idlib could lead to a “humanitarian catastrophe.”
In turn, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, commenting on the situation, noted that Moscow will continue to use contacts with Ankara to stop the escalation of tension in Idlib.
“We were satisfied with the agreements that were reached more than a year ago in Sochi, and this was mutual satisfaction, and we absolutely ceased to be satisfied after the offensive actions of militants and terrorist groups against the Syrian Armed Forces and the Russian military began from the territory of Idlib objects. That’s where our satisfaction ended,” said the presidential spokesman.
So, according to Peskov: “If we are talking about an operation against terrorist groups in Idlib, then these will be actions in line with the Sochi accords, because the neutralization of these terrorist groups is the responsibility of the Turkish side <…>. If we are talking about operations against the legitimate authorities of the Syrian Republic, the armed forces of the Syrian Arab Republic, then this is the worst case scenario.”
The first stage of negotiations between Russia and Turkey on Idlib took place in Ankara last week, the second in Moscow on Monday and Tuesday.
The Russian delegation included the President’s Special Representative for the Syrian Settlement Alexander Lavrentyev, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Defense. The Turkish delegation was led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal.
The situation in Idlib
In accordance with the agreement reached in May 2017 by representatives of Russia, Iran and Turkey, four de-escalation zones were created in Syria. The territory of three of them in 2018 came under the control of Damascus. The fourth zone, located in the province of Idlib and parts of the neighboring provinces of Latakia, Hama and Aleppo, is still not subject to the government of the republic.
Moreover, most of it was captured by terrorists from Jebhat al-Nusra *. In September 2018, Russia and Turkey agreed to create a demilitarized zone in Idlib, where there are more than a dozen different units.
On January 26, the Syrian army launched an offensive in the west of Aleppo in connection with daily bombardment by terrorists of residential areas of the city, which killed dozens of civilians.
Amid escalation, Ankara and some of its partners accuse Damascus of striking humanitarian targets and the Turkish military. The Syrian government has repeatedly stated that the cause of instability in the region is the actions of terrorists.
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