Middle East

Syrian Turkmen support Ankara's involvement in Idlib

Turkey is there to stop humanitarian crisis in region, says Syrian Turkmen Assembly speaker

Erdal Turkoglu   | 22.02.2020
Syrian Turkmen support Ankara's involvement in Idlib

HATAY, Turkey

Turkey is involved in Syria in order to stop deaths and displacement, speaker of the Syrian Turkmen Assembly said on Saturday. 

In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Muhammed Vecih Cuma said that the continuing attacks by Assad regime and its allies in Idlib, Syria, have led to the region's "biggest humanitarian crisis".

He said that nearly four million people in the region were expecting help.

"One million of them are displaced from their homes and have lost their families," Cuma said. "While some of them live in tents, others, unfortunately, try to survive under trees. Turkey helps them."

Established in 2012, the Syrian Turkmen Assembly is a coalition of Syrian Turkmen political parties.

Syrian Turkmen, or simply Syrian Turks, are Syrian citizens of Turkish origin who trace their roots to Anatolia. The majority of them are the descendants of migrants who arrived in Syria during Ottoman rule.

Highlighting the importance of Ankara's diplomacy and military power, he said Turkey is the only country which tried the return of those displaced by agreeing to a safe zone.

Despite the Sochi agreement, he added, the regime forces continue with their artillery shelling.

In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited. The regime forces, along with its allies, however, continue to violate the cease-fire.

The Syrian regime's recent advances in Aleppo countryside and parts of neighboring Idlib province have sent hundreds of thousands fleeing toward the border with Turkey, which already hosts more than 3.7 million refugees.

It has also affected cooperation between Ankara and Moscow. So far this year, artillery fire by regime troops has martyred 14 Turkish military personnel and one civilian contractor.

"Russia voted against the cease-fire in Syria in the U.N. Security Council," Cuma said. The envoys of U.S. and European countries only talked. But, no one except Turkey, has helped us yet."

He said Syrians expected help rather than just speeches in their support.

"We do not see any help from the international community. We call on all the people to see this tragedy and help the needy. Everyone should take responsibility for this issue like Turkey. What Turkey has done in Syria until now, it has done for humanity," he said.

The Turkmen assembly speaker said there was no space for the regime forces to escape, and the international community should take action against them.

For permanent peace in Syria, he said, cease-fire was a must, along with accelerating the dialogue process.

*Writing by Fahri Aksut

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