Turkish PM reiterates call for Syria safe zone

A Syrian pilot checks a Mi G-21 aircraft of the Syrian Air Force before a mission at the Hama airbase near the city of Hama Syria's Hama Province

Speaking at a rally in the southern province of Hatay, which borders Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the US has recently made positive initiatives in Syria and Turkey supports all efforts to ensure the safety of the Syrian people.

Speaking at a special UN Security Council meeting on Friday, Russia's acting deputy envoy to the UN, Vladimir Safronkov, said the Syrian government was not in control of the area of Idlib Province where the alleged attack happened.

"If Russia wants to be absolved of responsibility for future attacks, Vladimir Putin needs to enforce commitments, to dismantle Assad's chemical weapons arsenal for good, and to get fully engaged with the United Nations peacekeeping process", he wrote.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has cancelled a visit to Moscow next week as tensions grow over events in Syria.

Tillerson is expected in Moscow this week for talks with Russian officials.

Mr Johnson had originally planned to fly out to Moscow at the end of March, but rescheduled the visit in order to attend a meeting with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation counterparts, including U.S. secretary of state Rex Tillerson.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dominated the Turkish political scene since 2003Turkey sees USA military strikes on chemical weapons sites in Syria as "positive concrete steps" but not enough, Erdogan said at a rally in the border province of Hatay, adding "I hope this operation marks a beginning".


Reacting to the comment, an aide to Mr Johnson said: "It is a shame the Lib Dems would rather snipe and be silly when the USA and United Kingdom are trying to work on a plan to help the innocent people of Syria and stop a devastating civil war".

A group of protesters prayed on Syrian flags before the march. The Russian government has been implicated in numerous attacks against Syrians opposed to Assad's rule - something Moscow adamantly denies.

The protesters held banners and chanted anti-American slogans Saturday such as "Death to America" and "Death to Israel".

University student Ashraf Fadel said he came to denounce "the unjust American aggression against Syria". It said the woman killed had fled to the town from her hometown of Latameh in central Syria.

President Donald Trump has spoken by telephone with South Korea's leader to discuss Syria and North Korea. The attack occurred in the Shuaib al-Zeker area near where USA -backed Syrian fighters have been on the offensive against IS under the cover of coalition airstrikes.

"We have a multitude of topics, among which worldwide counter-terrorism is of great significance", Zakharov told Russia's Rossiya-1 TV channel.

The kingdom is among the most vehement opponents of Assad and supports Sunni rebel groups fighting to oust him.

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