Duvar English / Reuters
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Ankara is losing patience with the military assault in Syria's Idlib region, adding that the Astana peace process overseen by Russia, Turkey and Iran has collapsed.
"Thereis no such thing as the Astana process anymore. TheAstana process has fallen into silence now. We need to look at whatTurkey, Russia and Iran can do to revive the Astana process,"broadcaster NTV quoted Erdoğan as saying on Jan. 29. Erdoğan madethe comments while answering questions of reporters on a returnflight from his Africa tour.
Erdoğansaid that Russia is violating the Astana and Sochi accords aimed atstemming conflict in Idlib. "Currently, Russia is not abiding byAstana or Sochi," he said.
Renewedbombardments by Russia-backed Syrian government forces on Idlib haveraised concern of a new refugee wave from the area which bordersTurkey and is home to 3 million people.
Turkey and Russia, which support opposing sides in Syria, agreed to work towards de-escalating the fighting in Idlib and creating a demilitarized zone under agreements known as the Astana and Sochi accords.
Butfighting has continued in the last remaining rebel bastion incountry's nearly nine-year war despite several other agreements for aceasefire, as recently as this month.
Erdoğansaid Turkey, which is building houses in northern Idlib to sheltercivilians fleeing the bombing, has told Russia that it is running outpatience.
"Ifwe are loyal partners with Russia on this, they have to put forththeir stance... Our wish is that Russia immediately makes thenecessary warnings to the regime which it sees as a friend," hesaid.
OnJan. 28, Syrian government forces entered the town of Maaratal-Numan in the south of Idlib city, in a significantadvance for President Bashar al-Assad. Turkey said it would retaliateagainst any attack on its 12 observation posts around Idlib.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based war monitor, said a Turkish military convoy of 30 vehicles, including 12 armored vehicles, entered Syria on Jan. 27 evening and was expected to establish a new observation post south of the town of Saraqeb in Idlib.