ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The Turkish president has urged Russia to stop backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, just more than a day after Turkey’s American allies launched scores of missiles in what they have called a retaliatory strike after a suspected chemical weapon attack in Syria’s Idlib province killed dozens.
“We hope that Russia gets involved as well — that at least they stop defending Assad,” Anadolu Agency quoted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as saying.
Russia had claimed Tuesday’s deaths were the result of Syrian aviation targeting a facility where projectiles were being stuffed with toxic agents, while Western countries have indicated they believe it was government forces.
“It is our hope that this will not be limited to the US action,” Erdogan also said referring to the Khan Shaykhun attack and the six-year-long Syrian civil war.
Russia, Iran and Turkey have formed the tripartite attempting to broker peace between government and rebel factions in the Kazakh capital of Astana.
“Unfortunately it did not develop as we wanted,” Erdogan reportedly said of the talks.
Turkey, a NATO partner which allows the United States to use its geographically strategic lncirlik air base, does not see a solution to the Syrian conflict under the Assad regime.
“But let’s speed it up,” Erdogan added. “Let’s get rid of this evil.”
The foreign ministers of the seven most powerful industrial countries according to the International Monetary Fund — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States — are scheduled to meet on Monday and Tuesday in Italy preparing for the high-level leaders’ summit in Italy later in May to discuss issues concerning global peace and security. The European Union also has representation within the G7.
Although Russia had been a member of the G8, it was kicked out in 2014 after its action in the Crimea.
Friday’s strikes by the United States came after the United Nations Security Council failed to come to a joint resolution regarding Tuesday’s alleged use of chemical weapons.
Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the UN, commented to CNN in an interview over the weekend that she doesn’t see Assad being part of the solution in Syria.
“There’s not any sort of option where a political solution is going to happen with Assad at the head of the regime,” Haley said. “It just — if you look at his actions, if you look at the situation, it’s going to be hard to see a government that’s peaceful and stable with Assad.”