Turkey urges Russian Federation and Iran to stop Syria offensive on Idlib

James Marshall
January 12, 2018

According to the Ministry of Defence, Russian forces at the Khmeimim air base and Tartus naval facility "successfully warded off a terrorist attack with massive application of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)" last Friday night.

Asked if the pullback announcement was premature, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the remaining Russian forces have "all the necessary means" to fend off any attacks by the militants.

Russia's ambassador to Ankara, Alexei Yerkhov and Iranian ambassador Mohammad Ebrahim Taherian Fard were called in to express Turkey's discontent over the continuing attacks in Idlib.

Putin later announced Russian Federation would maintain a "permanent presence" at the Tartus and Hmeymim bases.

"Russia's military intervention in Syria and its repeated use of the veto at the United Nations Security Council makes Russian Federation a party to the conflict", The Guardian quoted the group as saying. The village remains loyal to the moderate opposition, but military positions surrounding it belong to the Nusra offshoot Harakat Tahrir al-Sham, or HTS, said another man who lives in the village and did not want his name to be used.

"In two years, the Russian armed forces, together with the Syrian army, have defeated the most lethal group of global terrorists", state news agency Tass quoted Putin as saying.

Putin faces a presidential election this March, and although he is expected to win easily, polls indicate that Russians are increasingly disgruntled about the country's military presence in Syria.

This is the second attack on a Russian base in Syria in a week. Many opposition groups are refusing to attend, citing increased Russian military interference.

The official military daily Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star) cited the Defense Ministry as saying the drones targeting the Russian bases were launched from al-Mouazzara in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib, where Turkey wields influence with some rebel groups. "But now they might bomb more after these false accusations".

But while Turkey backs the opposition, Russian Federation and Iran support Syrian President Bashar Assad. According to that theory, Iran wants to thwart Russia's efforts to impose a peace settlement on Syria that would undermine Iranian interests.

Though the province is nominally part of a "de-escalation zone" established after negotiations between Turkey, Iran and Russian Federation a year ago, there has been little respite for residents.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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