Assad’s forces should retreat beyond the borders outlined by the Sochi accords, i.e. for the observation posts of the Turkish Armed Forces.
By the end of February, the forces of Bashar al-Assad’s regime should retreat behind the observation posts of the Turkish Armed Forces in the Idlib de-escalation zone in Syria. This was stated by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a meeting of the parliamentary faction of the ruling Justice and Development Party in Ankara, Anadolu reported on Wednesday, February 5. Erdogan noted that the situation in Syria forced Turkey to reconsider the strategy security in Idlib and along the borderline with that country.
The number of internally displaced persons who have fled Idlib to Turkish-controlled Syrian areas and the Turkish border is close to one million. No one has the right to burden Ankara with such a burden,” Erdogan said.
He stressed that Turkey is determined to change the situation in Idlib and ensure the safety of civilians. It will not turn a blind eye to any actions that violate the agreements on Syria, Erdogan promised.
The Turkish leader said he had a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin the day before and stressed that the Assad regime’s forces should first retreat beyond the borders outlined by the Sochi accords, i.e. for the observation posts of the Armed Forces. Turkey.
“At the moment, two of Turkey’s 12 observation posts are already in the rear of Assad’s forces. We hope that by the end of February the Assad regime forces will retreat behind the observation posts of the Turkish Armed Forces in the Idlib de-escalation zone. Otherwise, Turkey will be forced to do so on its own,” Erdogan said.
According to him, the Turkish Armed Forces will strike in response to any shelling and attacks on Turkish troops and friendly forces.
“Ankara will take retaliatory steps without any warnings and not make a difference on what kind of force the strike has struck,” Erdogan warned, adding that anyone who questions Turkey’s presence in Syria is either ignorant or an enemy of Ankara and Bild journalist Julian Repke said that while Erdogan was speaking, Bashar al-Assad’s forces and his allies surrounded the fourth Turkish army post in Idlib near the town of Tal Toucan. Eight settlements were seized and Russian aircraft shelled three hospitals in the region in the past 48 hours.
Last week, Erdogan accused Russia of ignoring existing agreements on Syria. He said his country would act independently until a new military operation was launched unless Moscow renegotiated its cooperation with the Assad regime.
In turn, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused Turkey of violating the agreements in Syria.