By Hakan Copur
WASHINGTON (AA) – Turkey’s president on Monday urged the international community to be aware of its responsibilities in Syria as an assault on Idlib looms.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan evaluated the latest developments in northwestern Idlib province and Turkey’s position on the matter in an article he wrote for the U.S. daily The Wall Street Journal.
“All members of the international community must understand their responsibilities as the assault on Idlib looms. The consequences of inaction are immense,” Erdogan said in the article titled ‘The World Must Stop Assad’.
Erdogan also said the Syrian people could not be left to the mercy of the Bashar al-Assad regime.
“A regime assault [in Idlib] would also create serious humanitarian and security risks for Turkey, the rest of Europe and beyond,” he added.
Erdogan said the U.S., which is focused on chemical attacks by the Assad regime, needed to “reject its arbitrary hierarchy of death”.
“Conventional weapons are responsible for far more deaths,” he said.
He also said that stopping the “next bloodshed” in Syria was not only the West’s obligation, but Turkey’s partners in the Astana peace process — Russia and Iran — were also responsible for preventing a “humanitarian disaster”.
Erdogan called for “a more comprehensive international counterterrorism operation” to eradicate terrorists and extremists in Idlib, stating that certain designated terrorist groups were active in the area.
The Syrian regime recently announced plans to launch a major military offensive in Idlib, which has long been controlled by various armed opposition groups.
The UN warned last week that such an offensive would lead to the "worst humanitarian catastrophe in the 21st century".
Located near the Turkish border, Idlib is home to more than 3 million Syrians, many of whom fled from other cities following attacks by regime forces.
On Friday, Erdogan called for a ceasefire in Idlib during a tripartite summit in Tehran with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Russian President Vladimir Putin.