Turkish President Erdogan says the situation in the embattled Idlib province of Syria is an indication that the Syrian regime did not comply with the ceasefire initiated by Turkey and Russia.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday he would discuss the latest attacks in northwestern Syria with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Berlin this weekend.
"I intend to discuss these extensively with Mr Putin in Berlin. The current developments in Idlib are troubling," Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul.
The leaders will be in Berlin on Sunday for an international peace conference on Libya, another country where they have sought to establish a ceasefire.
Clear proof regime doesn't comply
The Turkish president expressed concern on recent developments in the embattled Idlib province in northwestern Syria, saying they were an indication that the Syrian regime did not comply with ceasefire deals initiated by Turkey and Russia.
"[Idlib] is clear proof that the regime does not comply with the steps we have taken regarding the ceasefire," Erdogan said, referring to a ceasefire that began early Jan 12, succeeding an oft-violated memorandum of understanding reached in September 2018.
Erdogan also accused regime leader Bashar al Assad of constant "lies" over claims the civilians killed in Idlib are terrorists.
"Since when have three, four, five-year-old children alongside their mothers been terrorists?" he said.
Northern Syria car bombing
Erdogan also said Turkey would not let a deadly terrorist car bombing in northern Syria "go unanswered" after it killed three Turkish soldiers while conducting road controls in the anti-terror Operation Peace Spring zone.
Turkey on Oct 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara wants YPG/PKK terrorists to withdraw from the region so a safe zone can be created to pave the way for the safe return of some 2 million refugees.
On Oct 22, Ankara and Moscow reached a deal under which YPG/PKK terrorists would pull back 30 km (18.6 miles) south of Turkey’s border with Syria, and security forces from Turkey and Russia would mount joint patrols there.