The warning from Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu comes a day after a Turkish military convoy was targeted by an air strike in northwest Syria, killing three civilians.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu at a news conference in Ankara, Turkey on August 20, 2019.
Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu at a news conference in Ankara, Turkey on August 20, 2019. (AA)

A day after an air strike on a Turkish convoy killed three civilians, Turkey’s foreign minister warned the Syrian regime against taking any reckless action.

“The regime needs to not play with fire. We will do whatever it takes to secure our troops,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told a press conference on Tuesday in the capital, Ankara.

Monday’s attack occurred amid a troop transfer to Idlib in northwest Syria meant to ensure the safety of observation post no. 9 in the de-escalation zone, keep supply routes open and prevent civilian casualties in the region. 

No intention to move observation post

Although the attack targeted the observation post manned by Turkish soldiers, Cavusoglu said Turkey has no intention to move the post to the south.

"Right now, we don't have an intention such as moving this elsewhere," Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara. "It will carry on with its mission," he said, adding that necessary security and military measures were being taken.

The observation point was one of 12 set up by Turkey in northwest Syria under an agreement with Russia and Iran aimed at reducing fighting in Syria's northwest. 

Moscow and Tehran strongly support Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad, while Turkey backs moderate opposition in the region.

Cavusoglu said Turkey was in contact with Russia "at every level" following Monday's incident to implement a ceasefire in the Idlib region of northwest Syria.

Turkey ready to enter north Syria

Negotiations with the US regarding technical matters of the planned safe zone in northern Syria, including the establishment of observation points and bases, are underway, Cavusoglu said.

But, he added that Turkey would go ahead with its plan to establish the safe zone by entering the region if US uses tactics to stall the process. 

"We will not let the fate of the new agreement match that of the one on Manbij. There issues that we agree on and there are issues that we don't. If negotiations fail we are prepared to enter Syria," he said.

"Our President [Recep Tayyip Erdogan] gave the order. We will not hesitate [to do so.]"

US on the one hand is engaged in talks with Turkey over establishment of the safe zone while on the other hand it is providing weapons for terror organisations in Syria, Cavusoglu said.

The Manbij deal between Turkey and the US focuses on the withdrawal of YPG/PKK terrorists from the Syrian city to stabilise the region, which is located north of Aleppo near the Turkish border.

The deal failed for which Turkey accuses the US of stalling the agreement.

The YPG/PKK is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror group, which has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people in Turkey, including many children, women, and infants, for more than 30 years.

Idlib demilitarisation zone deal

Last September, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib's southern border with the Syrian regime into a demilitarisation zone, where acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

The Syrian regime and its allies, however, have consistently broken the terms of de-escalation and demilitarisation zones, launching frequent attacks inside.

The zone was last inhabited by about 4 million civilians, including hundreds of thousands of people displaced in recent years by regime forces from cities and towns throughout the war-weary country. However, the regime's April onslaught on Idlib has displaced people in Idlib.

Syria has been locked in a vicious war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, over 500,000 have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies