US Senator Lindsey Graham articulated his admiration for Turkey’s efforts to ward off Syrian regim’s offences in northwestern Syria backed up by Russia and Iran, Anadolu Agency records.
“Very much appreciate what Turkey is doing to stand with the people of Idlib, Syria,” Graham said on Twitter after more than 50 Turkish troops were killed in Syria in February, adding: “It is time for the world, including the United States, to declare a no-fly zone over Idlib before the humanitarian crisis escalates”.
On Saturday, US President Donald Trump said Washington is in talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about a request from Ankara for the deployment of the Patriot missile system along its southern border.
“We are speaking to President Erdogan a lot. We are talking to him about” the request, Trump told reporters at the White House.
Currently, Patriot missiles from Spain are deployed in southern Adana province.
Ankara on Sunday launched Operation Spring Shield after 34 Turkish soldiers were martyred in Idlib, the last stronghold of opposition forces in Syria.
The Syrian regime backed by Russian air support and Iranian-supported fighters launched a campaign to capture Syria’s Idlib province from rebel groups in December. The UN estimates 900,000 people have been displaced in the time since open hostilities began.
In recent months, nearly 1.7 million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to intense attacks by forces of the Assad regime and its allies.
In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression were expressly prohibited.
But since then, more than 1,800 civilians have been killed in airstrikes and shelling by the regime and its allies.
“Russia’s Putin and Syria’s Assad are behaving like war criminals. There is one thing I have learned from Syria: ignoring a problem always makes it worse,” Graham said.