Turkey accuses Russia of not respecting the agreements concluded with Turkey on Syria

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday accused Moscow of not respecting the agreements concluded with Ankara on northwestern Syria, where Syrian and Russian aviation has intensified its bombing.

Erdogan said, according to what the official “Anatolia” news agency quoted with “Russia, we have concluded these agreements (…) If Russia does not respect these agreements, then we will do the same. Unfortunately for the time being, Russia does not respect them.”

Erdogan’s rare criticism of Russia comes after the Syrian regime regained control of Maarat al-Numan, a strategic city in Idlib governorate under the control of the opposition and jihadist factions, after weeks of bombing attacks.

The escalation since December has pushed 358,000 people to flee the area, especially Ma`rat al-Numan, toward safer areas to the north, according to the United Nations. Of those displaced, 38,000 fled between 15 and 19 January, the majority from western Aleppo.

“Our competent authorities meet with our Russian counterparts. We tell them: + Stop the bombing operations in Idlib. If you will do this, this is good. Otherwise, our patience will run out. As of now, we will do what is necessary,” Erdogan said.

After a serious diplomatic crisis in 2015, Turkey, which supports opposition factions, and Russia’s ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, began to coordinate closely on the Syrian file in 2016.

In particular, Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, struck several agreements, theoretically aimed at reducing violence to secure conditions for a political settlement to resolve the Syrian conflict that has killed more than 380,000 people since 2011.

Turkey and Russia sponsored the Iranians, especially the Astana and Sochi mechanisms, which allowed the establishment of “escalation reduction” regions and a constitutional committee.

“There is nothing left of the so-called Astana and Sochi,” Erdogan said on Wednesday. “What can Turkey, Russia and Iran do to revive these two mechanisms? We must see,” he asked.


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