Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his country could not ignore the presence of Russian and US bases and terrorist organizations in large parts of its neighbor to the south, Syria.
Speaking to members of the Turkish press on the way back from Albania, Erdogan criticized Washington’s support for terrorist organizations, referring to the PKK’s Syrian wing, the YPG.
Erdogan underlined that the continued US support for the YPG, which lies at the core of the Washington-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), cannot be ignored and that it was a topic in his talks with US President Joe Biden.
“They have significantly supported terrorist organizations in our south, the northeast of Syria, through thousands of trucks of arms and ammunition.”
The US has primarily partnered with the YPG in northern Syria to fight ISIS.
Turkey strongly opposes the YPG’s presence in northern Syria, a major sticking point in strained Ankara-Washington relations.
The US has provided military training and truckloads of weaponry to the YPG, despite its NATO ally’s security concerns.
The president noted that the US claims it is withdrawing from the country and not supporting terrorist groups, but stressed that this is not true.
“Similarly, Russia is also not withdrawing. If Russia had withdrawn support for Syria, (Bashar) Assad would not be standing now,” he added.
Russia joined Syria’s now 10-year conflict in September 2015, when the regime military appeared close to collapse.
Moscow has since helped tip the balance of power in favor of Assad. Hundreds of Russian troops are deployed across Syria, and they also have a military airbase along Syria’s Mediterranean coast.
In the meantime, the Turkish forces reinforced their positions at one of the points positioned on the outskirts of the village of Al-Ruwaiha, east of Jabal Al-Zawiya in Syria’s Idlib countryside.
The area overlooks Maarat Al-Numan and the Aleppo-Damascus International Road (M5).
Turkish forces deployed tanks, armored vehicles, and personnel carriers.