Turkey warns Russia an attack on Idlib will turn it into ‘lake of blood’.
Turkey has warned it will not stand by and watch a Russian-led attack on Syria’s Idlib province, which it said could turn the densely-packed north west of the country into a “lake of blood” and force an overwhelming exodus of refugees.
Speaking hours after a three-way summit in Tehran at which the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, pleaded with Russia and Iran to halt any forthcoming offensive, Erdoğan ramped up his rhetoric, insisting Ankara would not participate in “furthering the interests of Bashar al-Assad”.
Vladimir Putin had earlier rejected Erdoğan’s calls for a ceasefire in Idlib, the last opposition stronghold in Syria. The Russian president holds the key to the forthcoming operation – the most significant in a series of Russian and Iranian-led victories across the country.
“We will neither watch from the sidelines nor participate in such a game,” Erdoğan said in a message on Twitter. Turkish government spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Saturday: “Idlib is a ticking bomb. We can turn it off and start a new process in Syria if the international community gets serious about the Syrian war and shows that they do care about the Syrian people.” Meanwhile, Russian jets renewed their bombardment of southern Idlib, intensively attacking the city of al-Habit, killing four people. Russian jets also struck in the east of the province.