Feb 14, 2020 07:06 UTC
  • Turkey says will use ‘any measure’ against extremists in Syria’s Idlib Province

Turkey has threatened to use “force” against extremists in Syria’s Northwestern Province of Idlib, which militant groups have been using as a launch pad for attacks against Syrian forces and civilians.

According to Press TV, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar made the comment on Thursday, stressing that the Turkish military would use “force … in Idlib against those who do not abide by the ceasefire, including the radicals.”

Turkey would take “any form of measure” against “radicals”, the Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency further quoted Akar as saying.

Back in September 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan reached an agreement, known as the Sochi Agreement, to create a de-militarization zone in Idlib Province, whose large parts are controlled by foreign-backed terrorists.

According to the Sochi Agreement, “radical” groups or the ones identified as Takfiri terrorist outfits, were required to withdraw from the buffer zone.

However, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham Takfiri terrorists and other militants have been launching attacks on army and civilian targets from the buffer zone, where Turkish observation posts have been established to monitor the enforcement of the ceasefire there.

The increasing attacks prompted Damascus last August to begin liberating areas from the grip of terrorists in the province. Syria also started its full-scale offensive in December to flush all terrorist groups out of Idlib, the last militant bastion in a nine-year war.

Turkey claims that 14 members of its forces in Idlib have been killed in shelling by Syria’s government troops, vowing to severely retaliate.

On Wednesday, Erdogan accused Russia, Syria’s key ally in the fight against terror groups, of “constantly attacking the civilian people, carrying out massacres, spilling blood.”

A few hours later, the Russian Defense Ministry strongly rejected Erdogan’s allegations

“Statements by Turkish representatives about alleged attacks by Russian forces on civilians in the Idlib de-escalation zone do not correspond with reality," the ministry said in a statement.