turkey is protecting al qaeda in idlib

Turkey says Syrian government forces violating Idlib ceasefire
Reuters, May 17 2019

ISTANBUL – Turkey said on Friday Syrian government forces were violating a ceasefire agreement reached with Russia for Idlib. Russia and Turkey has backed some rebels in Syria’s eight-year-old civil war, but they have worked together to try to contain fighting in the country’s northwest. In recent weeks, that effort has been strained by the surge in violence in Idlib, the last major insurgent stronghold. Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement on the ministry’s website:

The regime is not keeping its promises of a ceasefire despite the agreement and is violating the ceasefire. A further escalation in violence could lead to a humanitarian tragedy. The Sochi agreement requires a ceasefire, and that is what we want from the Russians. Meetings in Ankara are continuing right now.

The ministry earlier said a joint working group between Ankara and Moscow had met in the Turkish capital on Thursday and Friday to discuss Idlib, the Sochi agreement and the Astana process. Moscow had been piling pressure on Ankara to start an operation against the opposition-held areas after Turkey’s failure to push rebels to agree to Russian patrols and get al Qaeda inspired militants out of a buffer zone that underpinned the Turkish-Russian deal.

Aid groups say conditions in north-west Syria at crisis point
Sarah el Deeb, AP, May 17 2019

BEIRUT (AP) — UN boxtops and dozens of international aid groups warned Friday that humanitarian conditions in Syria’s north-west have reached a new “crisis point,” as government troops push to retake the rebels’ last stronghold. The violence has effectively shattered a ceasefire negotiated by Russia and Turkey in Sep 2018. In their appeal issued Friday, some 70 aid groups called for an immediate end to the fighting. They said that the violence has displaced an estimated 180,000 people in the last two weeks alone. The rebel enclave, which stretches between northern Hama and most of Idlib provinces, is home to 3 million people. The violence has forced at least 16 humanitarian organizations to suspend their operations in the region, the groups added. The staff were either displaced themselves or the facilities came under attack. UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock told the UNSC:

Escalating violence in the last three weeks in the deescalation zone in Idlib has killed up to 160 people, displaced at least 180,000, and left millions crammed into an ever-smaller area. My worst fears are now coming true, that a full-scale military onslaught in north-western Syria would unleash a humanitarian nightmare unlike any we have seen before.

UN political chief Rosemary DiCarlo warned:

If the escalation continues and the offensive pushes forward, we risk catastrophic humanitarian fallout and threats to international peace and security.

She reiterated the UN’s call for an urgent deescalation of violence and urged Turkey and Russia to reestablish a ceasefire in north-west Syria. Physicians for Human Rights said it has verified that over the last four weeks Syrian government forces and their Russian allies have carried out nine attacks on hospitals and medical facilities. The aid groups said that at least 15 health facilities and 16 schools were reported to have been significantly damaged or destroyed. At least two health workers were killed. The groups said at least four clearly identified humanitarian posts were targeted, condemning the “failure” to observe international law. In a statement, Amnesty International called on the UNSC meeting Friday to pressure Russia over the “deliberate” targeting of health and education facilities and ending the “onslaught” against civilians. Amnesty International’s Lynn Maalouf said:

Bombing hospitals carrying out their medical functions is a war crime. The international community has so far utterly failed to protect civilians in Syria from the horrors of this conflict.

Staff from four hospitals in Idlib and Hama told Amnesty International that they had been targeted despite sharing their coordinates with the Syrian and Russian governments.

Western powers clash at UNSC with Russia & Syria on Syrian hospital attacks
Michelle Nichols, Reuters, May 16 2019

UNITED NATIONS- The UN said on Friday at least 18 health centres have been attacked in the past three weeks in north-western Syria, prompting a confrontation between western powers and Russia and Syria at the Security Council over who is to blame. While the area is nominally protected by a Russian-Turkish deal agreed in Sep 20198 to avert a new battle, Syrian forces backed by Russians have launched an offensive on the last major insurgent stronghold. Some three million civilians are at risk, the UN said. Britain’s UN Ambassador Karen Pierce said:

Since we know that Russia and Syria are the only countries that fly planes in the area, is the answer the Russian and Syrian air forces? It would be absolutely grotesque if they are finding themselves being the authors of their own destruction because of deliberated targeting by the regime.

Acting Pindo Ambassador to the UN Jonathan Cohen said Russia and Syria were responsible for the attacks on the health centres. He said it was “most alarming” that several of the centres attacked were on a list created by Russia and the UN in an attempt to protect them. Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the Syrian and Russian forces were not targeting civilians or civilian infrastructure and questioned the sources used by the UN to verify attacks on health centres, concluding:

We categorically reject accusations of violations of international humanitarian law. Our goal is the terrorists.

Erdogan tells Putin: Syria targeting Turkish-Russian ties by ceasefire violations in Idlib
Reuters, May 13 2019

ANKARA – Erdogan told Putin that the Syria government targeted the Turkish-Russian cooperation in Idlib by violating the agreed ceasefire, a statement from Erdogan’s office said. Erdogan also told Putin that Syrian attacks on civilians, schools and hospitals in Idlib could not be seen as fighting against terrorism, the statement added. The upsurge in violence in the Idlib area has strained a Russian-Turkish deal that had staved off a government offensive since September. The area is part of the last major foothold of the Syrian rebellion.

Notice the turkish army shoulder flash:

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