In a letter to The New York Times, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned that US-backed YPG terrorists have an alliance with Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad and are sending forces to help him recapture Idlib.

US Army Lt General Paul E. Funk (2nd L) at an American outpost in Syria's Manjib where US forces are backing the YPG terrorist organisation, on February 7, 2018.
US Army Lt General Paul E. Funk (2nd L) at an American outpost in Syria's Manjib where US forces are backing the YPG terrorist organisation, on February 7, 2018. (New York Times file / Agencies)

Turkey on Thursday called for Washington "to assess who its real allies in the region are" as the Assad regime in Syria is reported to be preparing an attack on the country's northwestern Idlib province.

Writing in the The New York Times, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned that the YPG terrorist group struck an alliance with Bashar al Assad in July and was sending troops to help him recapture Idlib which is the last major opposition and rebel stronghold in the country.

“The alliance has grown deeper since senior leaders of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF], spearheaded by the YPG, held formal talks with the Syrian regime to carve out a place for themselves in the new Syria,” Cavusoglu added.

"Having YPG forces operating from Syria, just miles from the border of Turkey, is untenable. It’s time for Washington to assess who its real allies in the region are."

Located near the Turkish border, Idlib province is home to more than 3 million Syrians, many of whom fled from other cities following attacks by regime forces.

The US says it is backing the YPG in Syria as part of its battle against Daesh.

Cavusoglu noted in the letter that the YPG is the Syrian affiliate of the PKK, which the US, Turkey and the EU have listed as a terrorist organisation. The PKK has waged a terror campaign in Turkey for more than 30 years in which some 40,000 people have been killed.

Later on Friday, speaking at a joint news conference with his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Cavusoglu said Turkey is working to achieve a ceasefire in Syria's opposition and rebel-held northwest and are ready for cooperation to fight terrorist groups in the Idlib area.

Cavusoglu also said that Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will discuss Syria with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.

Erdogan met with the leaders of Iran and Russia last week in Tehran to discuss Syria, but failed to win a ceasefire pledge.

Turkey's efforts to halt offensive

During a meeting with foreign ambassadors in Ankara on Wednesday, Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar warned that any military operation in Idlib would drag a region rife with problems to disaster.

He added that Ankara is still trying with Russia and Iran to prevent a humanitarian tragedy in the case of a threatened Syrian regime offensive.

“Idlib is on the brink of a new crisis. Turkey is working with Russia, Iran and other allies to establish peace and stability in Syria and to stop the humanitarian tragedy,” Akar said.

In recent weeks, regime forces have been massing to the south and southwest of the province, and in recent days launched an intense aerial bombing campaign targeting rebel positions, three medical centres and rescue workers said.

Opposition and rebels have held much of Idlib province since 2015 but a regime offensive captured chunks on the eastern flanks of the province last year before Turkey began deploying its observation points and halting the advances.

The UN has warned that such an offensive would lead to the "worst humanitarian catastrophe in the 21st century".

Source: TRTWorld and agencies