Turkey asks US to join hands post Syria chemical attack

If something concrete needs to be done over Idlib attack, Turkey is ready to do its part: President Erdoğan

Ersin Çelik
06:00 - 7/04/2017 Cuma
Update: 06:03 - 7/04/2017 Cuma
Turkish President Erdoğan in an exclusive interview in Istanbul.
Turkish President Erdoğan in an exclusive interview in Istanbul.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has urged coalition forces, especially the United States to join hands in taking concrete actions following the deadly chemical attack in Syria.

Speaking in a live television interview on Thursday evening, Erdoğan said: "If something [concrete] is to be done [over Idlib attack], we, as Turkey, are ready to do our part.

“Let's come together with all the coalition forces, particularly the United States... Please, let's see who is a friend, an enemy and a virus in the region, and let's act accordingly."

He called on the U.S. President Donald Trump to stand by his remarks following the attack in Syria’s western Idlib province.

On Tuesday, a chemical attack allegedly by the Bashar al-Assad regime in Idlib left more than 100 civilians dead and 500 others -- mostly children -- injured.

The findings of the World Health Organization confirmed the use of chemical weapons in the attack while the Syrian regime denied allegations it targeted the area with chemical weapons.

On Wednesday, Trump told a news conference the chemical attack in Idlib province "crosses many, many lines".

"These heinous actions by the Assad regime cannot be tolerated," the U.S. president said, adding: "My attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much."

The Turkish president also said the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin is "not understanding who is behind" the chemical attack is "worrying for us."

About anti-Daesh operations through Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters, Erdoğan said the next targets were Manbij and Raqqah following the operations in Al-Bab and Dabiq in northern Syria.

"Let's leave Manbij to its own residents," Erdoğan said, adding: "Who are its own residents? They are Arabs, there are no Kurds there."

About the approach of U.S. former President Barack Obama towards the PYD/YPG terror organizations and supply of weapons to them, Erdoğan said the issue had been discussed with Trump administration.

"We have documents. You gave weapons to PYD/YPG terrorist organizations, which also benefitted Daesh," he said.

"We do not want to fall into the same trap again. If you want to do something like humanitarian aid, let us do it together," he added.

Turkey has repeatedly warned the U.S. against partnering with the PYD/YPG for offensives against Daesh and said that the country would not accept any involvement of the PKK-affiliated terrorist organizations in such operations.

Although the PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by both Turkey and the U.S., the President Barack Obama-led administration considered its Syrian offshoot the PYD -- and its armed wing the YPG – as "reliable partners" in the region in the fight against Daesh.

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