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Russia accuses Turkey of breaking Syria deals, rejects Erdogan claim

February 12, 2020 at 8:00 pm

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (L) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (C) arrice to hold a press conference with Defence Minister of Turkey Hulusi Akar (R) following their meeting on the efforts to ensure peace and stability in Libya on January 13, 2020 in Moscow, Russia. [Cem Özdel/Anadolu Agency]

Russia on Wednesday accused Turkey of flouting agreements it had made with Moscow on Syria and of aggravating the situation in Idlib where Syrian forces have made gains in their campaign to eliminate the last insurgent bastion in a nine-year-old war, Reuters reports.

That offensive has fuelled violence in Idlib, in northwest Syria and bordering Turkey, forcing thousands of civilians to flee and drawing in the Turkish military which has seen 13 of its soldiers killed by Syrian shelling in the last 10 days.

In one of the strongest signs yet that Syria is placing relations between Moscow, which backs the Syrian government, and Ankara, which backs Syrian anti-government rebels, under increasing strain, the Kremlin, the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Russian Defence Ministry all accused Turkey of bad faith.

The Kremlin said Turkey had failed to deliver on a promise to neutralise militants in Idlib, something it called unacceptable, the Foreign Ministry reminded Ankara its forces were in Syria without the blessing of the Syrian government, and the Defence Ministry said Turkish troops were seriously aggravating the situation on the ground in Idlib.

The Defence Ministry also flatly rejected an allegation made by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan who said Russian forces and Iran-backed militias were “constantly attacking the civilian people, carrying out massacres, spilling blood”.

READ: Russia delegation leaves Turkey without reaching an agreement on Idlib