Turkey expects full implementation of Idlib deal

Published 03.09.2019 00:02

Turkey's presidential spokesman yesterday called on Russia and Iran to ensure the full implementation of the Idlib deal which was signed during the landmark 2018 Astana talks.

"The [Bashar Assad] regime must immediately stop its attacks [in Idlib] carried out on the pretext of terrorist elements," said İbrahim Kalın, speaking at a conference held in Turkey's central province of Konya.

Kalın said the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib was designated as a de-escalation zone and it was under the guarantee of Turkey and Russia; however, the Assad regime continued to target the region to gain more territory in a blatant violation of the deal. "The solution [in Syria] is that the political process is actualized immediately without delay," he said, warning another humanitarian crisis was on the horizon if a political solution was not agreed upon.

Kalın went on to say that the establishment of a constitutional committee, transition government, holding elections and aspects of the Astana and Geneva processes were to be included in the political solution. He added Turkey, Russia and Iran would have a trilateral meeting on Sept. 16 where the parties would discuss the Syrian crisis under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Turkey and Russia agreed last September to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone where acts of aggression were expressly prohibited. Following eight months of calm provided by the Sochi deal, the regime intensified its attacks since April 26 under the pretext of fighting Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) militants holed up in Idlib. The intermittent attacks and bombardments have killed, wounded and displaced thousands. Residential areas have been destroyed by indiscriminate attacks, while numerous educational facilities, health facilities and residential areas have collapsed or have become unusable after being targeted by bombs.The de-escalation zone is currently inhabited by 4 million civilians, including hundreds of thousands displaced by regime forces from cities and towns throughout the war-weary country.

The latest Syrian regime offensive in the northwest has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee toward the Turkish border. The United Nations said since the start of hostilities in northwest Syria in April, more than 550 civilians have been killed and some 400,000 people displaced. Almost half of the displaced people are living in open-air areas or under trees.

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