US rejects Assad’s remark Turkey sabotaging cease-fire
The U.S. on Friday blamed Bashar Assad's regime for Syria's humanitarian disaster, rejecting the Syrian president's claim that Turkey is sabotaging efforts to affect cease-fires in the country, Anadolu Agency reported.
"I'm not giving a lot of credence to his comments, given his actions over the last many, many months," said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf, responding to Assad's most recent interview in which he blamed Turkey for the fall of Idlib.
Syrian opposition factions, under a single military group named Jeysh al-Fatah, seized full control of Idlib in northern Syria about three weeks ago.
"The main factor was the huge support that came through Turkey; logistic support, and military support, and of course financial support that came through Saudi Arabia and Qatar," Assad claimed in an interview with Swedish newspaper Expressen published Friday.
"Assad often presents a false choice between his regime and terrorist groups like ISIL. And that's certainly not how we see it," said Harf. "Turkey is a key member of the anti-ISIL coalition. We work very closely with them as a NATO ally and partner on this and other issues."
An Anadolu Agency correspondent in Idlib was told by activists on Thursday that Syrian regime helicopters dropped four chemical barrel bombs on Idlib province.
The Syrian opposition has repeatedly accused the Assad regime of using chemical and toxic weapons against civilians in Idlib, leaving scores of residents dead and injured.
Syria has been gripped by violence since the regime launched a violent crackdown in response to anti-government protests in March 2011, triggering a conflict that has left at least 210,000 dead and displaced almost half of the country's population, according to the UN.