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Putin and Erdogan
As Russia and the Assad regime prepare to utterly destroy the remaining resistance to Shia rule in Syria, Turkey has stepped out of the bromance to attempt to halt the coming bloodshed, and possible chemical weapons use.
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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called for a ceasefire in the rebel-held region of Idlib in northwest Syria on Friday and said an anticipated government assault on insurgents there could result in a massacre.
But Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said Moscow opposed a truce, and Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani said Syria must regain control over all its territory, reported The Moscow Times. The three leaders spoke at a summit in Tehran set up to resolve the problem.
Erdogan called on Putin and Rouhani to agree to a ceasefire in Idlib, saying such an accord would be a “victory” of their summit. Turkey could no longer take in any more refugees from any new assault in Idlib, he said.
However, Putin responded that he opposed a ceasefire because Nusra Front and Islamic State militants located there were not part of peace talks. Syria should regain control of all its territory, he said, added The Moscow Times.
“The fact is that there are no representatives of the armed opposition here around this table. And more still, there are no representatives of Jabhat al-Nusra or ISIS or the Syrian army,” Putin said.
“I think in general the Turkish president is right. It would be good. But I can’t speak for them, and even more so can’t talk for terrorists from Jabhat al-Nusra or ISIS that they will stop shooting or stop using drones with bombs.”
Iranian President Rouhani chimed in with some especially hypocritical words, “The fight against terrorism in Idlib is an indispensable part of the mission to return peace and stability to Syria, but this fight should not harm civilians and lead to a”scorched-earth” policy.” This comes from a regime that executes political prisoners on a regular basis.
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Erdogan is especially worried about new refugees flowing into Turkey, “Whatever reason there is an attack that has been made or will be made will result in disaster, massacre and humanitarian drama…Millions will be coming to Turkey’s borders because they have nowhere to go. Turkey has filled its capacityt o host refugees.”
The Trump administration has warned the Assad regime against again using chemical weapons, saying such action would have severe consequences.