Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Syrian regime will face consequences following an attack on Turkish troops.
Following an attack by Bashar al Assad's regime on Turkish troops, Turkey will keep its military observation posts in Idlib, Syria, along with necessary fortifications, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday.
The deadly attack was a very clear violation of the Idlib agreement and will have consequences for the Assad regime, the Turkish president told reporters en route back to Turkey from an official trip to Ukraine.
But he also said there is no need for a conflict or contradictions with Russia, and there are serious strategic initiatives taking place.
Erdogan also said Turkey's anti-terrorist operations in northern Syria will not stop and will continue with determination.
Monday’s attack in Idlib killed seven Turkish soldiers and one civilian contractor working with the Turkish military. Thirteen other individuals were injured but are in good condition, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said.
In retaliation to the deadly attack, Turkey struck over 50 targets and killed 76 Syrian soldiers, Akar added.
Bombalı araç saldırıları başta olmak üzere Suriye kuzeyinde masum sivilleri hedef alan eli kanlı PKK/YPG terör örgütü, şimdi de Afrin merkezde yer alan 2 okul ve 1 camiye 4 Grad füzesi attı. Terör örgütünün alçak saldırısında 1 öğrenci hayatını kaybetti, 7 öğrenci yaralandı. pic.twitter.com/QMMYSjc7x1— T.C. Millî Savunma Bakanlığı (@tcsavunma) February 4, 2020
Attacks on civilians
The PKK/YPG terror group attacked two schools and a mosque in Afrin's centre, killing one student and wounding seven others, said Turkish Defence Ministry on Tuesday.
The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist organisation.
Turkey, the US and the EU recognise the PKK as a terrorist organisation.
Idlib has been a stronghold of opposition and anti-regime armed groups since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011.
It is currently home to some four million civilians, including hundreds of thousands displaced in recent years by regime forces from throughout the war-weary country.
Turkey and Russia agreed in September 2018 to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone where acts of aggression are expressly prohibited. The Syrian regime and its allies, however, have consistently broken the terms of the ceasefire – including a fresh ceasefire from January 12 – launching frequent attacks inside the zone and killing at least 1,300 civilians since the agreement.
Turkey has complained of the carnage and continued attacks and urged Russia to rein in its ally Assad to stop the bloodshed.