Turkey working with Russia, Iran to prevent disaster in Syria's Idlib: Erdoğan

IHA Photo

Turkey is working together with Russia and Iran to prevent another Aleppo-like disaster in Syria's Idlib, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Thursday.

"We are working with Russians and Iranians to prevent another Aleppo-like disaster in Idlib," Erdoğan said at the graduation ceremony for the Turkish Military Academy in Ankara.

"We are looking for ways of clearing the terrorists from Syria's Manbij in talks with the Americans," he added.

The Manbij deal between Turkey and the U.S. focuses on the withdrawal of the PKK-affiliated YPG terror group from the city in order to stabilize the region.

The president added that Turkey is taking steps to secure its border with Iraq at the Qandil Mountains, where the PKK terrorist group has its headquarters.

Erdoğan also addressed the economic attacks the U.S. has staged against Turkey in recent months.

"A quarter of a century ago, they could have put Turkey in a deep crisis with a $3-5 million economic operation. Today, we are facing an operation 10-20 times as big, but still we are not experiencing an economic collapse as was expected."

He added that the Turkey of today, despite facing daily economic and political attacks, is "resolutely advancing on its own path."

Erdoğan was speaking on the country's Victory Day, to remember the heroes who helped Turkey gain its independence after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

Turkey, Iran and Russia are the guarantor countries of a cease-fire in Syria in the Astana peace process. The Assad regime is currently preparing an assault against Syrian opposition forces in northwestern Idlib province, which has been designated as a de-escalation zone by the three guarantor countries.

Turkey has repeatedly warned that an operation on Idlib, which is severely overcrowded with internally displaced people, could result in a humanitarian disaster.

Idlib, located in northwestern Syria on the Turkish border, has been under the control of opposition groups since March 2015 and has been facing intense air raids by the Bashar Assad regime and its backers ever since.

In an effort to restore calm in the region and improve the humanitarian situation in war-torn Syria, the three guarantor states Turkey, Iran, and Russia launched the Astana process on Jan. 23, 2017, establishing de-escalation zones.

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