Politics

'Assad attacks on Turkish troops must stop,' Russia told in meeting

Meeting Russian delegation, Turkish presidential spokesman condemns Assad regime attacks on Turkish troops in Idlib, Syria

Enes Kaplan   | 10.02.2020
'Assad attacks on Turkish troops must stop,' Russia told in meeting

ANKARA

Assad regime attacks on Turkish soldiers must stop immediately, a top Turkish presidential aide told a Russian delegation in the capital Ankara Monday.

Following repeated Assad regime attacks on Turkish soldiers as well as Syrian civilians, Turkey’s presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin met the delegation to discuss the latest developments in Idlib, northwestern Syria, said a statement by the Turkish Presidency.

The delegation was led by Russia’s Syria envoy and included military and intelligence representatives.

In the two-hour meeting, Kalin condemned the Assad regime attacks on Turkish troops in Idlib – including two over the last eight days – and said they must stop.

Kalin said the Syrian regime is clearly violating the 2018 Sochi agreement between Turkey and Russia, which bans acts of aggression in the area.

He added that Russia should do what it has to do as a guarantor state under the agreement.

Kalin stressed that Turkey is determined to take a variety of measures against such attacks, which aim to sabotage the political process.

Under the rules of the legitimate self-defense, Turkey will continue to retaliate against all attacks on Turkish soldiers, he said.

Earlier Monday at least five Turkish troops were martyred and five injured in an attack by Assad regime forces in Idlib.

Within hours, Turkey’s Defense Ministry announced it had neutralized 101 Assad regime military personnel in response.

Monday’s escalation followed last week’s attack by regime forces in Idlib which martyred seven Turkish soldiers and one civilian contractor working with the Turkish military, and injured more than a dozen people. In retaliation, Turkey last week struck over 50 targets and killed 76 Syrian soldiers.

The Turkish troops are in Idlib as part of an anti-terror and peace mission.

Idlib has been a stronghold of the opposition and anti-government armed groups since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

But more than 1,800 civilians have been killed in attacks by regime and Russian forces since then, flouting both the 2018 cease-fire and a new one that started on Jan. 12.

*Writing by Fahri Aksut

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