Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked the Russian government to give a proper account of its actions in Syria, saying that Moscow and its ally Damascus have caused the deaths of 400,000 people.
Erdogan said, "Russia must be held accountable for the people it has killed within Syria's borders. By cooperating with the regime, the number of people they have killed has reached 400,000," speaking at a news conference while on a state visit to Senegal on Friday.
Erdogan also stated that Russia was engaged in an invasion of Syria and accused it of trying to set up a "boutique state" for its longtime ally Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad.
"Russia occupies Syria now with a navy base in Tartus and an air base in Latakia. It is in an effort to build a boutique state for Assad," he added.
Turkish president previously had criticised the latest delay of the Geneva talks by the United Nations, which has failed to bring opposition delegation and Syrian regime representatives to the same building at the same time in Geneva.
Erdogan has declared that the talks could not bear fruit “while Syrian people are dying under heavy attacks waged by the Syrian regime and its supporters suffering will not end.”
On Wednesday, UN-mediated talks in Geneva to end the war in Syria were paused until Feb. 25. UN envoy Staffan de Mistura said they had not failed but urgently needed help from international backers led by the United States and Russia.
Meanwhile, the Syrian regime forces and its allies have broken a three-year opposition siege on two towns in northwestern Syria, regime and opposition sources said on Wednesday, cutting off a main opposition route of the country’s second largest city Aleppo to nearby Turkey.
On Thursday, tens of thousands of Syrians were reportedly flocking to the Turkish border north of Aleppo, following heavy Russian bombardment and reports of Syrian regime forces and its allies making gains in Aleppo's northern countryside.