Exchange of accusations between Turkey, Russia, and the U.S. over Idlib

WASHINGTON – In press statement made at the U.S. State Department, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Russia, Iran, and Damascus for undermining the peace process in Idlib. Pompeo stated that a truce was difficult to reach and added, “All the proposals for a cease-fire have been undermined by the Syrians, Russians, and Iranian officials, who have also undermined all efforts taken by the United Nations to convene the Constitutional Commission.”

Late last year, Russia blocked the passage of two draft resolutions at the United Nation’s Security Council by the U.S. concerning the delivery of humanitarian aid to Syria.

The commander of the U.S. forces in Europe, General Todd Walters, praised the role of Turkey in dealing with Russia, calling for cooperation between Washington and Ankara.

Gen. Walters said stated that the long-term interests of both the United States and Turkey will be better served by continuing their cooperation against Russia, both bilaterally or within the framework of NATO.

The U.S. has already declared full solidarity with Turkey’s position regarding the situation in Idlib to reduce escalation. Ankara has confirmed its intolerance with the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) advance in Idlib Governorate and accuses Damascus of targeting civilians and causing a humanitarian crisis.

Russian expert on Middle East affairs, Gregory Lukyanov, said that Ankara is considering the possibility of launching a large-scale military operation in Idlib as a last resort to stop the SAA’s progress there. Lukyanov pointed to the existence of clear evidence that Ankara will try to avoid a direct armed conflict with Damascus because Erdogan is aware that such developments would undermine the application of Sochi agreements, which is not in favor of Ankara, forcing it to actively look for a compromise solution with Moscow.