World Bulletin / News Desk
"Unfortunately, it is a stillborn baby," he told NBC's Ayman Mohyeldin when asked whether the Washington-Moscow brokered cessation of hostilities was dead. "A period of 48 hours was initiated and then a week was discussed if the first 48 hours was a successful one, but it never happened. The cessation of hostilities was significantly interrupted."
Erdogan said the Bashar al-Assad regime was responsible for the attack on the UN convoy Monday, in which aid workers and drivers were reported killed after an apparent airstrike.
Earlier this week, the U.S. put the blame squarely on Russia, Assad's closest ally, for directly carrying out or at least ignoring the regime forces carrying out the attack.
The Turkish president also reiterated the necessity Ankara sees for a no-fly zone over parts of Syria.
"This region in question should have been officially declared as a no-fly zone, and unfortunately no leader from around the world seems to have agreed," Erdogan said. "They have been talking about this necessity from time to time but no concrete step has been taken forward."
Erdogan declared Thursday that Turkey's ongoing military operation in northern Syria aims to open up a 4,000-5,000 square kilometer “safe zone” in the region where Ankara will build settlements for Syrian refugees in Turkey to return to their country, and would-be refugees fleeing the violence can take shelter.
Erdogan's interview with NBC comes after the network faced a backlash from the Turkish-American community and independent media groups over its coverage of the July 15 bloody coup attempt in Turkey.
On the night of the defeated coup, before Erdogan appeared on TV to call on citizens to defy the putsch, NBC put out a tweet quoting a "senior US official" as saying Erdogan had sought asylum in Germany but was rejected. The claim was dismissed by Ankara as sheer disinformation.