38 civilians killed by regime airstrikes in N. Syria

                             By Adham Kako</p>    <p>ANKARA (AA) – Syrian regime airstrikes in Hama’s northern countryside and in de-escalation zones located in northern Idlib left 38 civilians dead in the period from Feb. 12 to 20, according to local civil-defense sources.</p>    <p>Casualties included at least 13 women and 13 children, Raed Saleh, director of the White Helmets civil-defense agency, told Anadolu Agency.</p>    <p>According to Saleh, a bakery and at least three schools in the town of Khan Sheikhoun were destroyed by the strikes.</p>    <p>In a Thursday statement, the White Helmets called on Turkey, Russia and Iran -- the three guarantor states in the Asana peace process -- to pressure Damascus to halt its attacks.</p>  <p>Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected severity.

Rejim, İdlib ve Hama'da 38 sivili öldürdü

İDLİB/ANKARA (AA) – Suriye'de Beşşar Esed rejimi güçlerinin, "İdlib Gerginliği Azaltma Bölgesi"ndeki yerleşimlere, 12-20 Şubat'ta yoğunlaştırdığı saldırılarda, 38 sivil yaşamını yitirdi, 100 sivil yaralandı.

Sivil Savunma (Beyaz Baretliler) Başkanı Raid Salih, AA muhabirine yaptığı açıklamada, Esed rejimi güçlerinin, Hama ilinde muhaliflerin kontrolündeki yerleşimlere 12-20 Şubat'ta düzenlediği saldırılarda 2'si kadın 3 sivilin öldüğünü, 5'i kadın, 5'i çocuk olmak üzere 25 sivilin yaralandığını söyledi.

Sivil Savunma'nın internet sitesinden yapılan yazılı açıklamada da Esed rejimi ve İran destekli yabancı terörist grupların, söz konusu dönemde İdlib kırsalındaki sivil yerleşimlerde 11'i kadın, 13'ü çocuk 35 kişiyi öldürdüğü, 9'u kadın, 22'si çocuk 75 sivili yaraladığı kaydedildi.

İdlib ve Hama illerine 9 gün içerisinde düzenlenen saldırılarda 13'ü kadın 13'ü çocuk olmak üzere toplam 38 sivil öldü, 14'ü kadın 27'si çocuk olmak üzere toplam 100 sivil yaralandı.

Saldırılarda hedef alınan yerleşimlerde büyük çaplı maddi zararların meydana geldiği belirtilen açıklamada, İdlib'in Han Şeyhun ilçesine düzenlenen bombardımanlarda 3 okulun hedef alındığı, bir fırının kullanılamaz hale geldiği ve çok sayıda sivilin evlerini terk ederek, nispeten daha güvenli bölgelere göç ettiği aktarıldı.

  • "Bu saldırılar savaş suçudur"

Açıklamada, "Son dönemde tırmanan ve sivil yerleşimleri hedef alan bu saldırılar savaş suçudur. Garantör ülkelerin vardığı ateşkesin ihlalidir. Siyasi süreci engellemektedir." ifadeleri yer aldı.

İdlib'deki yaklaşık 4 milyon sivilin korunması gerektiğinin altı çizilen açıklamada, garantör ülkelere rejim güçlerine baskı yapma çağrısında bulunuldu.

Rejim güçleri, Türkiye ve Rusya arasında İdlib'deki ateşkesi sağlamlaştırmak için imzalanan Soçi mutabakatına rağmen saldırılarına ara vermedi. Askeri muhalifler ise 17 Eylül 2018'de imzalanan mutabakatın öngördüğü bölgeden ağır silahlarını 10 Ekim 2018'de çekmişti.

Regime shelling kills 10 civilians in Syria's Idlib

By Ashraf Musa

IDLIB, Syria (AA) – At least ten civilians were killed and 34 others injured by regime artillery shelling on residential areas in the country's northwestern Idlib province in the past 24 hours, according to the White Helmets civil defense agency on Sunday.

The shelling targeted 13 populated areas in the towns of Khan Shaykhoun and Marra al-Numan in Idlib's countryside, the White Helmets said.

Three children and four women were among those killed in the attacks, it added.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, White Helmets director in Idlib Mustapha Haj Yousuf warned of a "humanitarian catastrophe" over the ongoing regime attacks.

"Too much blood has been shed in the past period," he said, adding that most of the victims were children and women.

Regime attacks in the de-escalation zone of Idlib are estimated to have killed at least 63 civilians and injured hundreds since the start of this year.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.

Turkish foundation eases hardships of war-weary Syrian

Burak Karacaoglu and Esref Musa

IDLIB, Syria (AA) – Turkiye Diyanet Foundation (TDF), an aid organization under the country's religious authority, has provided 26,000 families in Syria with stoves, firewood, blankets, beds and other daily-use items since beginning of the year.

"From the beginning of 2019 until now, we have provided assistance to approximately 26,000 families in the regions of Idlib and Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations.

"This figure corresponds to about 130,000 people," said Ismail Yigit, the field coordinator of the organization.

Since 2016, Turkey’s Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in northwestern Syria have liberated the region — including Al-Bab, Afrin, and Azaz — from YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists, making it possible for Syrians who fled violence there to return home.

In the camps in Azez district of Aleppo where civilians who were forcibly displaced take refuge, every day, 15,000 people eat hot food and 120,000 loaves of bread, the aid group said.

The foundation also renovated 160 mosques that were damaged during the conflict and opened them for worship last year. The maintenance, repair and furnishing of 268 mosques was also completed.

Yigit said that winter season in the region is harsh and floods have rendered the belongings of many families unusable.

He added that the foundation had distributed clothes, hygiene items and diapers to families in the region.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed or displaced in the conflict, mainly by regime airstrikes targeting opposition-held areas.

“Rusya, İdlib'de uluslararası insani hukuka saygı gösterecek”

MÜNİH (AA) – Rusya Dışişleri Bakanı Sergey Lavrov, "Rusya, Suriye'nin İdlib ilinde uluslararası insani hukuka saygı gösterecek." dedi.

55. Uluslararası Münih Güvenlik Konferansı'nda konuşan Lavrov, Türkiye ile Rusya arasında İdlib'de silahlardan arındırılmış bölge oluşturulmasına ilişkin geçen yıl alınan kararın uygulanması konusundaki çabaların devam ettiğini söyledi.

Lavrov, "Rusya, Suriye'nin İdlib ilinde uluslararası insani hukuka saygı gösterecek." ifadesini kullandı.

Rusya, Türkiye ile İran devlet başkanlarının Soçi kentinde bir araya gelerek, İdlib için mevcut durumu masaya yatırdıklarını hatırlatan Lavrov, söz konusu kararda Türk ve Rus askerlerinin ortak devriyeye başlamasının da olduğunu ve ordunun bunun için çalıştığını söyledi.

Lavrov, Rusya'ya Batı tarafından uygulanan ambargolara da değinerek, "Avrupalılar, kendilerinin Rusya ile anlamsız bir meydan okumaya sürüklenmelerine izin verdiler ve böylece milyarlarca zarara uğradılar." değerlendirmesinde bulundu.

  • "Çin, çok taraflılığı sürekli olarak destekledi"

Konferansta konuşan Çin Komünist Partisi (ÇKP) Merkez Komitesi Dışişleri Komisyonu Başkanı Yang Jiechi de Çin'in uluslararası ilişkilerinde her zaman "kazan-kazan" iş birliği ilkesini benimsediğini belirterek, "Birleşmiş Milletler'in (BM) kurucu üyelerinden ve BM Güvenlik Konseyinin daimi üyelerinden biri olarak Çin, çok taraflılığı sürekli olarak destekledi." dedi.

<p>Yang, dünyanın çok taraflılık, açıklık ve diyalog konusunda kritik bir kavşakta bulunduğunu ve belirsizliklerle karşı karşıya kaldığına dikkati çekerek, küresel zorluklarla mücadele için uluslararası iş birliği çağrısı yaptı. 

Russia will respect international law in Idlib misison

                     By Ayhan Simsek</p>    <p>MUNICH (AA) - Russia will respect international humanitarian law in Syria’s Idlib, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Saturday. </p>    <p>Addressing the annual Munich Security Conference, Lavrov said efforts are currently underway in Idlib, to implement the memorandum signed last year between Moscow and Ankara to establish a demilitarized zone.</p>    <p>“Presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran met two days ago in Sochi and there was a discussion of this situation,” he said, referring to a trilateral conference in the Black Sea resort city on Syria.</p>    <p>“There was an agreement that the military of Russia and Turkey, with the consent of the Syrian government, would try to establish a step-by-step approach, making several areas inside the zone of de-escalation, areas of joint patrol,” he added. </p>    <p>Lavrov stressed that currently the military was working on plans, “in accordance with the international humanitarian law”. </p>    <p>“They will certainly do it not the way terrorists in Raqqa were eliminated, where we still have corpses of civilians and mines which are not attended by anyone,” he said, referring to the U.S.-backed military operations against the former defacto capital of Daesh.

Esed rejiminden İdlib'e saldırı: 4 ölü

İDLİB (AA) – Suriye'deki Beşşar Esed rejimi ve İran destekli terörist grupların, "İdlib Gerginliği Azaltma Bölgesi" sınırları içerisindeki yerleşimlere düzenlediği topçu saldırılarında 4 sivil hayatını kaybetti, 12 sivil yaralandı.

Rejim ve İran destekli yabancı terörist gruplar, "İdlib Gerginliği Azaltma Bölgesi" sınırları içindeki Han Şeyhun ve Marratinnuman ilçesi, Huveyn, Tel Mennis ve Termela köyleri ile Hama ilinin kuzey kırsalındaki Madik Kalesi çevresi, Şeria, Huveyz ile Havice köylerine topçu saldırıları düzenledi.

Rejim güçlerinin hedef aldığı yerleşimlerden göçün başladığı, sivillerin kısmen daha güvenli gördükleri alanlara gitmeye çalıştığı öğrenildi.

İdlib Sivil Savunma (Beyaz Baretliler) Müdürü Mustafa Hac Yusuf, AA muhabirine yaptığı açıklamada, rejim güçlerinin yüz binlerce sivilin yaşadığı İdlib'in en büyük sivil yerleşimlerine sistematik saldırılar düzenlemeye devam ettiğini söyledi. Hac Yusuf, "Rejim güçlerinin saldırılarında 4 sivil yaşamını yitirdi, 12 sivil yaralandı." dedi.

Hama'nın kuzeybatı kırsalındaki Gab Ovası'ndaki yerleşimlerden kısmi göç yaşandığını söyleyen Hac Yusuf, Han Şeyhun ile Marratinnuman ilçelerindeki halkın bir kısmının yeraltı sığınaklarına, diğer kısmının da ilçelerin çevresindeki arazilere kaçtığını kaydetti.

Rejim güçlerinin, "İdlib Gerginliği Azaltma Bölgesi"ne bu yılın başından itibaren düzenlediği hava ve kara saldırılarında 57 sivil hayatını kaybetti, 230'dan fazla sivil yaralandı.

Rejim güçleri, Türkiye ve Rusya arasında İdlib'deki ateşkesi sağlamlaştırmak için imzalanan Soçi mutabakatına rağmen saldırılarına ara vermedi. Askeri muhalifler ise 17 Eylül 2018'de imzalanan mutabakatın öngördüğü bölgeden ağır silahlarını 10 Ekim 2018'de çekmişti.

More cooperation steps designed in Syria summit: Putin

             By Elena Teslova, Enes Canli and Ahmet Dursun</p>    <p>MOSCOW (AA) - Russia, Turkey and Iran designed further steps on cooperation in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday, following the trilateral summit in Sochi.</p>    <p>Addressing the joint news conference alongside his Turkish and Iranian counterparts, Putin said the agreements achieved in the summit were fixed in the final communique under the signature of three leaders.</p>    <p>Detailing the points agreed, Putin said three countries were willing to strengthen their cooperation in the framework of the Astana process, increase the efforts in the fight against terrorism, promote inter-Syrian dialogue and improve the humanitarian situation.</p>    <p>On the Astana peace talks, Putin said the next consultations on the level of experts will take place in Astana in late March or early April. </p>  <p>Turkey, Russia and Iran are guarantor countries which brokered a cease-fire in Syria in December 2016, leading to the Astana talks, which are running parallel to the Geneva talks.</p>    <p>&quot;The Astana Troika maintains contacts with interested regional countries and international structures, some states requested to join the Astana format as observers. In this regard, [we] instructed the foreign ministers to work out the issue,&quot; he added.</p>    <p>On the restoration of peace in Syria, Putin described the Russian, Turkish, and Iranian efforts as “significant”.</p>    <p>The next is to form a committee on the Syrian constitution in order to define the future organization of the political system in Syria, he added.</p>    <p>“The success of the political process in Syria will help further normalize Damascus' relations with the Arab countries, restore its membership in the Arab League, and serve the interests of strengthening security and stability in the Middle East.” </p>  <p> </p>  <p>- Idlib memorandum</p>    <p><br>

Following a meeting last September between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Putin, the two sides agreed to set up a demilitarized zone in Idlib, Syria.

Under the deal, opposition groups in Idlib are to remain in areas where they are already present, while Russia and Turkey conduct patrols to prevent renewed fighting.

On the deal, Putin said: "Iranian and Turkish colleagues are ready to work together for the final removal of tension in Idlib".

Also addressing the U.S. Syria pullout, he said it would be a “positive step”, contributing to the settlement in Syria.

In December, U.S. President Donald Trump made the unexpected decision to withdraw all 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria, drawing criticism from many allies and security aides, including his own Cabinet.

– ‘We stand for dialogue within Syria’

Russia understands Turkey’s security concerns over the situation around the Euphrates River, Putin said, adding the Adana Agreement should be guided to prevent any conflict over the issue.

"We do not support anything related to separatism. We stand for dialogue within Syria, which will lead to the restoration of society and the state.

“Our special services and military agencies are in close contact in this area [the Euphrates]. If we act as smoothly as we have done so far, success will be assured. But ultimately, Syria's territorial integrity will be ensured as the terrorist threat disappears," Putin said.

Russia, Iran and Turkey made considerable efforts in the humanitarian domain in Syria, Putin said, calling for global assistance.

"Russia, Iran and Turkey created conditions for the return of one and a half million refugees, the government has given firm security guarantees to all who want to return home. We call all the states and international organizations, in first turn the UN, to intensify efforts to rebuild Syria," he said.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on protesters with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people are believed to have been killed and millions more displaced by the conflict.

– Rouhani: US presence in Syria against int'l law

For his part, Rouhani underscored that Turkey’s concerns regarding Syria should be taken into account when discussing a resolution to the conflict running in the country for eight years.

He also said that all terror groups in the country must be dealt with until they were utterly destroyed.

"While we understand these concerns, the most sustainable way to their elimination is [to enter into] cooperation with the Syrian government," he said, offering Iranian mediation in such an endeavor.

Criticizing Washington’s and Tel Aviv’s actions in the region, Rouhani accused the U.S. of "transferring" Daesh terrorists to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

He asserted that Washington’s presence in Syria was against international law, underlining that U.S. forces should evacuate the country "as soon as possible".

Rouhani underlined that the Idlib agreement signed under the Astana peace process between the three countries should be implemented "in line with the latest developments".

Claiming that al Qaeda-linked terror groups remain in civilian-populated areas in the northwestern Syrian town, he stressed that this would not deter the Syrian regime from targeting them.

He further added that aiding in the reconstruction of the country was crucial for the resolution of the conflict.

Putin, Rouhani and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gathered in Sochi to discuss a lasting solution to the crisis in Syria.

The leaders first met in Sochi in 2017.

Turkey wants no new crisis to arise in Syria: Erdogan

By Diyar Guldogan

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey does not want new humanitarian crisis to arise in Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday.

"We do not want a new humanitarian crisis and new tragedies to arise neither in Idlib no in other regions of Syria," Erdogan told a news conference with his Russian and Iranian counterparts following a trilateral summit on Syria in Russia's coastal city of Sochi.

Erdogan said Turkey will continue to do its part on Idlib deal. He also called on Syrian regime to obey cease-fire agreement.

"Hopes for political solution to Syrian crisis are sprouting as never before," he said.

Turkey's concern is to ensure Syria's territorial integrity and clear terror groups from Syria's Manbij, the president stressed.

He hoped that Syrian constitutional committee will be formed "as soon as possible", so Syrian people can determine their own future.

The president announced that the next round of the trilateral meeting between the leaders of Turkey, Russia and Iran will be held in Turkey in upcoming months.

Erdogan, Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani first met in Sochi in 2017.

Turkey, Russia and Iran are guarantor countries which brokered a cease-fire in Syria in December 2016, leading to the Astana talks, which are running parallel to the Geneva talks.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on protesters with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people are believed to have been killed and millions more displaced by the conflict.

Putin: We must tackle terror hotbeds in Syria

                              By Elena Teslova </p>  <p>MOSCOW (AA) - Turkey, Russia, and Iran should consider steps to tackle the “terrorist hotbed” in Syria, said Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, meeting with his Turkish and Iranian counterparts.</p>  <p>&quot;We need to agree how to ensure a permanent de-escalation in Idlib,” Putin told the opening of a trilateral summit in Sochi, Russia </p>  <p>“The cease-fire regime is in force in the province, but that doesn’t mean that we should accept the presence of terrorists in the area. Thus, I propose we consider concrete practical steps that Russia, Turkey, and Iran could take to completely and finally destroy the terrorist hotbed.&quot; </p>  <p>After a meeting in Sochi last September between Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the two sides agreed to set up a demilitarized zone -- in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited -- in Idlib.</p>  <p>The following month saw all heavy weapons withdrawn from the de-escalation zone by Syrian opposition and anti-regime groups.</p>  <p>But according to the Syrian White Helmets civil defense group, at least 30 people in Idlib were killed in January, including women and children, while another 180 were injured -- in Idlib, Hama and Latakia -- by regime drone attacks and artillery fire.</p>  <p>At Thursday’s summit, Putin said in addition to Idlib, the situation near the Euphrates and the issues of Syria's reconstruction and refugees’ repatriation are the most important right now.</p>  <p> He also urged that a planned committee to draw up a new Syrian constitution start its work as soon as possible.</p>  <p>Putin told how last month in Moscow he and Erdogan discussed the consequences of U.S. troops leaving Syria.</p>  <p>&quot;We agreed that the problems in [Syria’s] northeast should be solved with strict respect for the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity of,&quot; he said.</p>  <p>Putin said Russian, Turkish and Iranian efforts sharply changed the humanitarian situation in Syria, as over the last six months, more than 130,000 Syrian refugees returned home and humanitarian aid is being delivered.</p>  <p>&quot;But about a million people still need help. We hope that the international community and the UN will play a more active role in this matter,&quot; he said.

  • Iran's Rouhani

For his part, Rouhani said that the issues of external intervention in Syria as well as the importance of liberating Syria from terror were top issues for the summit.

Stressing the need to preserve the country’s territorial integrity, he added that Washington "unfortunately" provided protection for terror groups within Syrian borders.

In addition, Rouhani underlined that it was critical that Syrian refugees are able to return to their home soil.

Erdogan, Putin, and Rouhani first gathered in Sochi to discuss the crisis in Syria in 2017.

Turkey, Russia and Iran are guarantor countries which brokered a cease-fire in Syria in December 2016, leading to the Astana talks, which are running parallel to the Geneva talks.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on protesters with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people are believed to have been killed and millions more displaced by the conflict.