Turkey

Turkish president holds meeting on next steps in Idlib

Meeting with state officials held after deadly attack by Syrian regime on Turkish troops

Enes Kaplan   | 11.02.2020
Turkish president holds meeting on next steps in Idlib

Ankara

ANKARA

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Tuesday with state officials in the wake of a deadly attack on Turkish troops in Syria’s Idlib province. 

In the meeting, it was decided that the attack would be responded to as many times as possible so the blood of the martyrs would not be shed in vain.

The meeting was attended by Vice President Fuat Oktay, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Guler, Head of National Intelligence Hakan Fidan, Communications Director Fahrettin Altun and President of Defense Industries Ismail Demir.

It was emphasized that no kind of attack can deter Turkey from its commitments in Idlib, including preventing any kind of conflict, providing border security and preventing a new wave of migration and human tragedy.

At least five Turkish troops were martyred and five injured in an attack earlier Monday by forces of the Bashar al-Assad regime in Idlib.

Turkey's Defense Ministry said its forces rapidly retaliated against the Assad regime under the rules of engagement and its right to legitimate self-defense.

On Twitter, the Defense Ministry said 115 Syrian regime targets were hit and 101 regime military personnel neutralized.

The ministry added that three tanks, two howitzer positions and one regime helicopter were also hit.

It 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 more than 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 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 since then, more than 1,800 civilians there have been killed in attacks by regime and Russian forces, flouting both the 2018 ceasefire and a new one that came into effect on Jan. 12.

More than 1.5 million Syrians have moved toward the Turkish border due to intense attacks over the past year.

Turkey remains the country with the most refugees in the world, hosting more than 3.7 million migrants since the start of the Syrian civil war.

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