Turkey 'extremely annoyed' by US policy in Syria, Erdogan says


Turkey, which backed opposition forces against Syrian President Bashar Assad, fears a flood of refugees fleeing a military offensive and destabilising areas it now holds in Syria.

There is "lots of evidence" that chemical weapons are being prepared by Syrian government forces in Idlib in northwest Syria, the new US adviser for Syria said on Thursday, as he warned of the risks of an offensive on the country's last big rebel enclave.

Turkey wants to separate the terrorists from the other opposition groups in Idlib, but Russian Federation believes there is no distinction as both are deemed terrorists. Rouhani said Syria must regain control over all its territory.

Nonetheless, Putin, Erdogan and Rouhani will be making decisions on what could be a turning point in a seven-year-old war which has killed more than half a million people and forced 11 million to flee their homes.

Erdogan, in his opening remarks, said a ceasefire in Idlib would be a victory for their summit.

He recounted that the talks between the guarantor states will continue at the level of experts and representatives from the three countries, the representatives of the opposition parties and groups and the representatives from the UN. And more still, there are no representatives of Jabhat al-Nusra or ISIS or the Syrian army.

"I think the last chapter of the Idlib story has not been written. It would be good", he said.

"If the world turns a blind eye to the killing of tens of thousands of innocent people to further the regime's interests, we will neither watch from the sidelines nor participate in such a game", he said.

Naji al-Mustafa, a spokesman for the Turkey-backed National Front for Liberation, said Friday his fighters were prepared for a battle that they expect will spark a major humanitarian crisis. His stance against some of the groups who fight in Idlib started with his description of Al-Nusra Front fighters as terrorists who must be defeated, which shows that an global green light has been given to liquidate them and that they will be excluded from any settlement.

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Local media reported that several people were shot and transported to hospital, and the scene was secured at 9:15 am Eastern time. Workers quickly fled the building and hid in bathrooms and closets when they heard a hail of gunfire and smelled gun power.

Russia, Iran, and Turkey also called for the United Nations and its humanitarian agencies to help Syria by providing additional humanitarian aid.

Efforts must be made to protect and to create conditions for the safe return of refugees, it added.

When Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesperson Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday described Idlib as a "pocket of terrorism" and said that "we know the Syrian armed forces are getting ready to solve this problem", he was referring to the fact thatthe only way to solve the issue of Idlib province is either a massive military attack or a political solution. Abdurrahman said suspected Russian warplanes carried out the attack. But there is nowhere else for them to go now as this battle represents the end of the war in Syria. "Turkey has filled its capacity to host refugees".

The White House has warned that the United States and its allies would respond "swiftly and vigorously" if government forces used chemical weapons in the widely expected offensive.

The United States came in for criticism from all sides, however, highlighting the complex nature of a conflict involving a myriad of factions.

Turkey is "extremely annoyed" by the United States' support of a terrorist organisation in Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday, even though the threat from Islamic State has ceased.

Meanwhile, the fate of Idlib hung in the balance. "We just want to eliminate terrorism in Idlib".

"The battle for Idlib is going to be the final major battle", said Hilal Khashan, a political science professor at the American University of Beirut.