Turkey's Communications Director Fahrettin Altun says Moscow must rein in Assad regime or Anakara will act "as we did today in Idlib," where Turkish military eliminated 76 regime members in retaliation.
Turkey will not hesitate to act against Syrian regime forces if Russia is unable to control them, Turkey's communications director said on Monday, after Ankara said Syrian regime shelling killed five of its soldiers and three civilians in the northwestern Idlib region.
"The Assad regime's attack on our forces is the latest example of its cowardly actions in northern Syria," Fahrettin Altun said on Twitter.
"If Russia is unable to control the Assad regime from targeting us, we will not hesitate to take actions against any threat, just as we did today in Idlib," he added.
President Erdogan said earlier on Monday that Turkey will continue to retaliate, adding that Ankara had told Russia to "stand aside" in the conflict. Erdogan said Turkey killed over 30 regime troops in retaliation.
The country's Defence Minister Hulusi Akar, cited by Anadolu Agency, later said 54 regime targets were shelled by Turkey's military which eliminated 76 regime members.
Our brave soldiers are conducting security and humanitarian missions inside Syria in line with our agreements with Russia. If Russia is unable to control the Assad regime from targeting us, we will not hesitate to take actions against any threat, just as we did today in Idlib.— Fahrettin Altun (@fahrettinaltun) February 3, 2020
Refugee crisis 'unsustainable'
Altun also said that Turkish presence in northern Syria is the only barrier against yet another humanitarian crisis and refugee influx, adding that NATO allies and the Europeans have not done enough to support Turkey.
The Turkish official also warned, "If the international community does not stand with Turkey against instances of aggression like this one, it will be faced with yet another refugee crisis along our borders. We have been telling the world this is unsustainable but they prefer looking the other way."
"Our western allies have allowed this crisis to fester for too long. They only pay attention when they are threatened by the influx of refugees. They even dare criticise us for our military operations in northern Syria. They must come to their senses," Altun added.