Turkey, World

Turkey: Russia ties review urged over Assad attacks

Opposition Nationalist Movement Party leader says Russia bears responsibility for Turkish soldiers martyred by Assad regime

Emin Avundukluoglu   | 11.02.2020
Turkey: Russia ties review urged over Assad attacks

ANKARA

Condemning the Assad regime and its attacks on Turkish troops, a senior Turkish politician on Tuesday called on the government to reassess its relations with Russia, the regime’s main ally.

"[Syria's Bashar al-] Assad is a murderer, criminal, illegal and a source of strife," Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli told his party's parliamentary group.

"If necessary, the Turkish nation should plan to enter Damascus," Bahceli said.

Bahceli's remarks came after five Turkish troops were martyred and five injured in an attack by Assad regime forces in Idlib, northwestern Syria on Monday, following a similar attack last week martyring seven soldiers and a civilian contractor working with the Turkish military.

The Turkish troops are in Idlib – nominally a cease-fire zone, under a deal between Turkey and Russia – as part of an anti-terror and peace mission.

Turkey has since retaliated for both attacks, hitting scores of targets and killing some 177 Assad regime troops.

Bahceli also accused Russia of not standing with Turkey on the Syria issue, saying Moscow is just as responsible for the recently martyred Turkish troops.

"We must face this reality," Bahceli stressed.

Russia is achieving its goals "step by step in Syria through crisis and chaos," he said.

"Our sincere wish is that the government should review its relations with Russia," the MHP leader said.

Idlib has been a stronghold of the opposition and anti-government armed groups since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

But more than 1,800 civilians have been killed in attacks by regime and Russian forces since then, flouting both the 2018 cease-fire and a new one that started on Jan. 12.

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