Erdogan says Syrian forces must pull back from Idlib posts

Cheryl Sanders
February 5, 2020

A Syrian family mourn after airstrikes destroyed their house and killed their family members at the northern town of Sarmin in Idlib Province, Syria, February 2, 2020.

Erdogan has said Moscow, which supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Ankara, which has backed rebels who tried to topple him, should resolve the conflict "without anger" and agreed with Russian President Vladimir Putin to improve coordination of their countries' actions in Syria.The violence in Idlib has accelerated in recent months despite several ceasefire efforts, including as recently as January, displacing hundreds of thousands of people.United Nations regional spokesman David Swanson said 520,000 people had been displaced since the beginning of December and the numbers could swell further.Erdogan said almost one million people were moving toward the Turkish border and Syrian territory under Turkish control. "We won't give Syria the opportunity to gain territory".

Germany pledged Turkey it would provide 25 million euros in fund for the construction of brick houses on the Syrian side of Idlib-Turkey border to accommodate displaced Syrians, diplomatic sources have told Hürriyet Daily News. The incident triggered a retaliatory bombardment of Syrian Army positions.

President Bashar al-Assad sees the presence of Turkish troops in Syria as a breach of the country's sovereignty and has promised to retake "every inch" of territory from the opposition.

"I told my counterpart Sergei Lavrov that the regime was carrying out provocative attacks on our observations posts around Idlib, that we will retaliate if they continue this, and that they need to stop the regime as soon as possible", Cavusoglu told reporters.

Following heavy regime attacks in the last rebel stronghold, thousands of people rushed to the Turkish border.

The exodus, which coincides with a biting winter, is one of the largest since the 2011 start of a conflict in which more than half of the country's pre-war population of 20 million has been displaced.

"There are no safe places in Idlib, bombs fall everywhere and anywhere even those fleeing the front line areas are not safe and there is just a sea of people moving in all directions", he said.

The aid is planned to be allocated to the Red Crescent in Turkey, which has already been building brick buildings for displaced civilians 30-40 kilometers from the Turkish border to stem the refugee flow.

Other reports by iNewsToday