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ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Russia to keep out of Turkish affairs in Afrin and vowed a "heavy price" for those behind the deaths in Douma.

"This is a wrong approach. We know very well to whom we will return Afrin," Erdogan told said in parliament on Tuesday, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency. 

He responded to remarks by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that Afrin should be returned to the control of the Syrian government.

"We will determine the time. That is up to us, not to Mr. Lavrov," Erdogan added, explaining Afrin would be handed over to its residents.

Russia, Iran, and Turkey held high-level meetings in Ankara last week with the focus on Syria.

“We always operate on the premise that the simplest way to normalize the situation in Afrin, now that the Turkish representatives say that the main goals they set for themselves there have been achieved, is to return the territory under control of the Syrian government. We have never had another position,” Lavrov said in response to a question by a Rudaw correspondent in Moscow on Monday.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also called for Turkey to hand over the Kurdish city of Afrin over to the Syrian government in the Ankara talks. 

As the world waits to see if Russia will again veto an expected UN Security Council resolution aimed at holding those responsible for chemical weapons attacks in Syria, Erdogan weighed in promising those responsible will pay a "heavy price."

"I curse those who carried out this massacre. Whoever has done this, the perpetrators will be brought to account and certainly pay a heavy price," Erdogan said.

The Turkish president promised to speak directly with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.

"I spoke with Putin yesterday (Monday), talks will continue today and tomorrow," he said.

Erdogan did not lay blame on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or his primary backers, Russia and Iran.

At least 48 people were killed in an alleged chlorine gas attack on Saturday in Douma, the last rebel-held neighborhood of Eastern Ghouta. 

UN-backed and Russia, Iran, and Turkey backed ceasefires have both failed to hold in the nearly eight-year civil war.

 

Source: rudaw.net

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