Ankara urges Moscow to restrain Syrian regime in Idlib

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 05.07.2019 00:07

Ankara called on Moscow to contain the Bashar Assad regime and stop them from attacking civilians and Turkish observation posts in northwestern Syria's Idlib, which Turkey regards as a move risking the de-escalation process.

Speaking at a TV interview, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan discussed the issue with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Tokyo.

"At that point, Russia has the responsibility to constrain the regime to cease attacks. We informed them regarding attacks on hospitals, schools and civilian areas," Çavuşoğlu said.

The Sochi agreement was reached on Sept. 17, 2018 between Turkey and Russia. According to the agreement, the cease-fire in the Idlib region will be preserved, with the withdrawal of heavy arms and radicals from the region. Following eight months of relative calm provided by the deal, the Syrian regime intensified its attacks as of April 26, under the pretext of fighting Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) militants holed up in Idlib.

Stressing that Russia has some concerns regarding the safety of its bases in western Syria, Çavuşoğlu said military and intelligence officers of the two countries have been in cooperation to handle the existence of radical groups in Idlib and the issue will be solved in cooperation with Russia and Iran.

‘Haftar has no

humanitarian concerns'

Speaking on the recent situation in Libya and renegade Khalifa Haftar's hostile actions against Turkey, Çavuşoğlu defined Haftar's acts as "piracy and banditry, adding that recent attack on a migrant center in Tripoli proved that the self-proclaimed general has no humanitarian concern. An airstrike hit a detention center for migrants in the Libyan capital early Wednesday, killing at least 44 people and wounding 130, U.N. officials said.

Çavuşoğlu said that Libya's Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Prime Minister Faiz al-Sarraj, have been showing efforts to unite the country and willing to share the power, while Haftar, backed by some regional countries such as Egypt and United Arab Emirates, does not intend to recognize the GNA. While Libya was dragged into chaos after the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi, who ruled Libya with an iron fist for 42 years until the Feb. 17, 2011 revolution, Haftar, a former Gadhafi officer, has been trying to destroy the Tripoli-based, internationally recognized GNA for months. His militia launched an offensive in April against the Tripoli-based government, seeking to capture Tripoli from the GNA but has so far been unsuccessful

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