World, Europe

UK condemns attack on Turkish soldiers in Idlib, Syria

UK calls for emergency UN Security Council session in New York, says foreign secretary

Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak   | 28.02.2020
UK condemns attack on Turkish soldiers in Idlib, Syria British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab ( FILE PHOTOI - Anadolu Agency )

ANKARA

The U.K. on Friday condemned Thursday’s airstrike by the Syrian regime which martyred 33 Turkish soldiers.

“I condemn the killing of at least 33 Turkish soldiers in Idlib yesterday. We express our deepest condolences to the Turkish government and people,” said Dominic Raab, the U.K. foreign secretary, in a statement.

“We will be calling for an emergency UN Security Council session today in New York,” he said, adding “yesterday’s events only confirmed the reckless and brutal nature of the offensive which the Syrian regime and Russia are conducting in Idlib.”

“There is no justification for such blatant disregard of international law or basic human decency. Building on new sanctions announced earlier this month, we will work with our international partners to tighten this screw further until these crimes stop,” he added.

Late Thursday, at least 33 Turkish soldiers were martyred and dozens of others injured in an airstrike by Assad regime forces in the Idlib, Syria de-escalation zone, just across Turkey’s southern border.

The Turkish soldiers are working to protect local civilians under a September 2018 deal with Russia under which acts of aggression are prohibited in the region.

But more than 1,300 civilians have been killed in attacks by Assad and Russian forces in the zone since then, as the cease-fire continues to be violated.

Thursday’s attack was one of a series since January on Turkish troops, with Turkish officials keeping their pledge that such assaults would not go unanswered.

The de-escalation zone is currently home to 4 million civilians, including hundreds of thousands displaced in recent years by regime forces throughout the war-torn country.

More than 1.7 million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to intense attacks.

Since the eruption of the bloody civil war in Syria in 2011, Turkey has taken in some 3.7 million Syrians who fled their country, making it the world’s top refugee hosting country.

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