Military escalation by Russian and Syrian regime forces and Turkish troops continued in Syria’s Aleppo and Idlib ahead of an anticipated summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi.
Erdogan expressed his hope that the US, Russia, Iran and Turkey would work together to achieve peace and stability, whether in Syria or Iraq.
He urged Washington to make up its mind on whether it will back Turkey, its NATO ally, or what he branded as “terrorist organizations”.
Turkey views the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the largest component of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), as a branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which it also deems as terrorist.
In an interview with CBS aired Monday night, Erdogan expressed his belief in the need for the US to withdraw from Syria and Iraq the way it did from Afghanistan.
“If we are going to service peace around the world, it’s not-- it’s no longer meaningful to remain in those parts of the world,” he said.
“We can just leave those people, leave those administrations to make up their own minds,” he added.
As for Turkey’s intervention in Syria, Erdogan said: “Let me be very clear, and frank: we will never remain where we are not wanted. We will never be present where we are not welcome. In Syria, we are currently building 100,000 units of brick homes. People and families were displaced, and they were kicked out of their motherland, and we are building these units for them there. And I wonder what the other countries are doing?”
Turkey has sent new military reinforcements to Idlib, which has been witnessing a continuous escalation, for weeks, by Russian and regime air forces.
More so, Russia has escalated its attacks in Afrin, which is held by Turkey and loyalist Syrian factions.