Turkish president says Ankara does not want Syria’s Idlib to turn into “blood bath”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called for a joint stance over Syria’s territorial integrity and unity, and said that he believes the results of trilateral summit in Tehran will contribute to peace in Syria.
“The results of this summit are being anxiously awaited by the entire world. I believe that with the decisions we make, we will not let their expectations fall short of reality. The guarantors must send the message from this summit that they will not allow a new wave of violence or a humanitarian crisis in Syria,” Erdoğan said.
The presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey – the main outside players in Syria’s long war – were meeting in Tehran on Friday to discuss the fate of the opposition-held province of Idlib as rival factions there prepared for what could be the conflict’s last great battle.’
“Idlib is critically important not just for Syria’s political future but also for our national security and the peace and stability of the region. Turkey does not want Idlib to turn into a blood bath. We expect our allies to support our efforts. We must find a reasonable solution that meets our joint concerns,” he added.
The Turkish president stated that it is important to end bombardments in Idlib, and added that he believes one of most important steps of the trilateral summit would be announcing a cease-fire.
Turkey agreed with Russia and Iran last year to make Idlib a “de-escalation zone” of reduced conflict and sent in army units to erect a string of observation posts along the frontlines between the opposition and the army.
Idlib attack will lead to massacre
“Turkey has reached its refugee-hosting capacity. An attack on Idlib will result in a massacre. In an area where many factors are intertwined, an effective struggle against terrorists requires different methods that entail time and patience,” Erdoğan said.
“Turkey is determined to maintain its presence in the region until Syria’s political, geographical and social integrity is truly ensured. Turkey cannot leave Idlib to the mercy of Assad regime,” he added.
Turkey has 12 observation points in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province in accordance with the Astana agreement.
“We must put forth a joint stance against all forms of terror arising from Syria, including the PYD/YPG, and initiatives that target Syria’s territorial integrity,” Erdoğan said.
“Turkey is extremely disturbed by the fact that the U.S. continues to strengthen another terror group in the area even though the threat posed by Daesh no longer exists,” he added.
Putin calls for UN-monitored constitutional committee
Russian President Vladimir Putin in his turn called for a UN-monitored constitutional committee to be established for Syria.
“A political solution in Syria must be promoted by successfully implementing agreements,” Putin added.
U.S. must leave Syria if peace is to prevail
“Civilians should not be harmed in the fight in Idlib. All three countries should respect Syria’s territorial integrity to ensure that Syria finds peace. The U.S. must leave Syria for the country to be secure. The cooperation of these three countries must be respected for the Syria crisis to be resolved and for peace to prevail in the country,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said.
The first tripartite summit regarding Syria was held in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi on Nov. 22, 2017 to discuss progress made in the Astana peace talks and changes in de-escalation zones across Syria.
The second trilateral meeting was hosted by Erdoğan in April in the Turkish capital Ankara.