ISTANBUL, (BM) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during an event organized in Istanbul on the occasion of International Women’s Day, said that the celebration of March 8 amid a massive humanitarian crisis is cynical, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
He also said that Turkey reserves the right, with its own military forces, to achieve the objectives of the Spring Shield operation, launched in February, if Moscow does not fulfill its obligations on Syria, Anadolu Turkish news agency reported.
“Turkey never intended to occupy or annex Syrian lands. Our only goal is to create a safe environment under which 3.6 million Syrians from Turkey and 1.5 million Idlib residents at the border can return to their homes,” the Turkish leader emphasized.
Erdogan also said that on March 9, on Tuesday, he will hold a meeting in Belgium with representatives of the European Union on the situation with refugees near the borders of Turkey and Greece, and expressed hope that the Turkish delegation will return from Belgium with positive results.
On March 5, Moscow hosted a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Erdogan. The negotiations, in aggregate, lasted about six hours, following their results, a joint document was adopted to resolve the situation in Syria.
The main outcome of the leaders’ meeting was a ceasefire in the war zone in Idlib, the last enclave of the Syrian armed opposition. The ceasefire took effect at midnight. The parties also agreed to create a security corridor along the M-4 highway in Syria and to resume joint patrols, including on the new route, from March 15.
Putin in a telephone conversation told his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad about the outcome of the meeting.
“Bashar al-Assad praised the outcome of the talks between the leaders of Russia and Turkey and expressed gratitude to the Russian president for his support in the fight against terrorist groups and for efforts aimed at ensuring the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria,” the Kremlin press service said in a statement.
The situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone sharply worsened in February, when, as the Russian Ministry of Defense reported, the militants attempted a large-scale offensive. 33 Turkish soldiers died in Syria on February 27 as a result of an attack on them by the Syrian government army in the Jebel al-Zawiya region of Idlib province.
As explained by the Russian Ministry of Defense, the Syrian troops fired at the settlement of Behun with terrorists in the Idlib zone. At that time, the Turkish military were in the area, although they should not have been there. The Russian side has taken comprehensive measures to ensure that the Syrian government forces cease fire.
In addition, Moscow provided for the evacuation of dead and wounded Turkish military personnel on the territory of the republic. It was this incident that caused the aggravation of the conflict in the Arab Republic. As a result, on February 27, Ankara launched Operation Spring Shield.
Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay promised to avenge Bashar al-Assad. Oktay assured that Assad would pay a high price for the attack on Turkish troops. He called the Syrian leader the head of a terrorist state. According to Oktay, the president of the SAR will go down in history as a war criminal.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with UN Secretary General Anthony Guterres, also dedicated to the situation in Syria. Negotiations took place in New York on Friday, March 6. During the meeting, Pompeo and Guterres pointed out the importance of establishing a ceasefire in Syria and continuing the delivery of assistance approved by the UN.
The war in Syria triggered a new flight of migrants to a peaceful life in Europe. On the Turkish border with Greece, real clashes between Greek border guards and migrants unfolded. In preparation for the influx of refugees, Athens installed barbed wire at checkpoints so that the border was closed on the European side. However, many migrants still attempt to break through.
In clashes with law enforcement, refugees launched stones and metal rods. The border guards responded with tear gas. A video appeared on the Internet that shows how the Greek coast guard shoots into the water near an inflatable boat with refugees.
Border guards, while on a boat, also pushed the boat with a long pole so that she returned. On the frames there are those who managed to break through to the shores of the Greek island. Locals shout behind the scenes to let the refugees go back.
The use of tear gas by Greek border guards received condemnation from Turkey. EU leaders, meanwhile, thanked Athens for serving as a “shield” of Europe against refugees.
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