Turkey urges Russia to uphold Sochi deal responsibilities in Syria's Idlib

DAILY SABAH WITH WIRES
ISTANBUL
Published 10.02.2020 15:30
Updated 10.02.2020 21:19
emAFP File Photo/em
AFP File Photo

Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın met Russia's Special Representative for Syria Aleksandr Lavrentyev late Monday. The call came in the aftermath of five Turkish soldiers who were killed by the Assad regime forces in an attack, in which five others were also wounded.

Saying that Assad regime forces' attack on the Turkish observation point at eastern Idlib's Taftanaz Airport with heavy artillery will face retaliation in Turkey's capacity to protect itself, Kalın urged Russia to undertake its responsibilities stemming from the Sochi deal.

"It was underlined that the attack is unacceptable, and Turkey will continue to retaliate in kind," a statement from the Turkish Presidency read.

The statement also added that such attacks by the regime should stop immediately.

"It was made clear to the Russian Federation that it should undertake its responsibilities stemming from the Sochi agreement, to which it is a guarantor state," the statement added. "Turkey is ready to implement any measures to prevent the hindrance of the political process in Syria, to protect its soldiers and ensure the implementation of the Sochi deal."

The Sochi agreement was reached on Sept. 17 by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

According to the agreement, the cease-fire in the Idlib region would be preserved, with the withdrawal of heavy arms and radicals from the region. Prior to the agreement, the Assad regime was signaling a huge operation on Idlib, which is the last stronghold of the opposition, sparking deep fears in the international community of a new humanitarian crisis.

Yet, the regime and its supporters have been violating the agreement.

Last week, an Assad regime attack in Idlib killed seven Turkish soldiers and one civilian contractor working with the Turkish military and injured over a dozen people.

In retaliation, Turkey struck over 50 targets and killed 76 Syrian soldiers.

Idlib has been a stronghold of opposition and anti-government armed groups since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

But more than 1,800 civilians there have been killed in attacks by the regime and Russian forces since then, flouting both the 2018 cease-fire and a new one that started on Jan. 12.

More than 1.7 million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to intense attacks over the past year.

Turkey remains the country with the most refugees in the world, hosting more than 3.7 million Syrians since the start of the Syrian civil war.

Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın met Russia's Special Representative for Syria Aleksandr Lavrentyev late Monday. The call came in the aftermath of five Turkish soldiers' killing by Assad regime forces in an attack, in which five others were also wounded.

Saying that Assad regime forces' attack on the Turkish observation point at eastern Idlib's Taftanaz Airport with heavy artillery is to be retaliated in Turkey's capacity to self-protect, Kalın urged Russia to undertake its responsibilities stemming from the Sochi deal.

"It was underlined that the attack is unacceptable, and Turkey will continue to retaliate in kind," a statement from the Presidency said.

The statement also added that such attacks by the regime should stop immediately.

"It was made clear to the Russian Federation that it should undertake its responsibilities stemming from the Sochi Agreement, to which it is a guarantor state," the statement added.

"Turkey is ready to implement any measures to prevent the hindrance of the political process in Syria, to protect its soldiers and ensure the implementation of the Sochi deal."

The Sochi agreement was reached on Sept. 17 by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. According to the agreement the cease-fire in the Idlib region would be preserved, with the withdrawal of heavy arms and radicals from the region. Prior to the agreement, the Assad regime was signaling a grand operation toward Idlib, which is the last stronghold of the opposition, sparking deep fears in the international community of a new humanitarian crisis.

Yet the regime and its supporters have been violating the agreement.

Last week, an Assad regime attack in Idlib killed seven Turkish soldiers and one civilian contractor working with the Turkish military and injured over a dozen people.

In retaliation, Turkey struck over 50 targets and killed 76 Syrian soldiers.

Idlib has been a stronghold of opposition and anti-government armed groups since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

But more than 1,800 civilians there have been killed in attacks by the regime and Russian forces since then, flouting both the 2018 cease-fire and a new one that started on Jan. 12

More than 1.7 million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to intense attacks over the past year.

Turkey remains the country with the most refugees in the world, hosting more than 3.7 million Syrians since the start of the Syrian civil war.

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