Turkey’s defence minister mentioned Tuesday as many as 4 commentary posts and two army positions are actually in Syrian government-controlled territory as Syrian forces proceed their advance into the last rebel stronghold, an offensive that has escalated tensions between Syria and Turkey.
In an interview with The Related Press, Defence Minister Hulusi Akar mentioned that Turkey wouldn’t vacate any of its 12 commentary posts in Idlib and warned that Turkish troopers have been beneath orders to retaliate forcefully to Syrian assaults on the army posts.
“In the event of any action against them, they have been given instructions to retaliate even more powerfully,” Akar mentioned. “In the event anything happens, there will be retaliation. We expect the regime to not take any action under any circumstances.”
“We have said over and over that we would not pull back our personnel, soldiers from there. They will continue their mission,” he mentioned.
Turkey has lately despatched extra troops and tanks to bolster its army presence in northwestern Syria, the place President Bashar Assad’s forces have been advancing in a devastating, Russian-backed offensive that has sparked an enormous exodus of individuals.
Syria’s Idlib area close to the border with Turkey and elements of close by Aleppo are the last rebel-held bastion within the war-ravaged nation.
The push by Assad’s forces into cities and villages within the province over the previous months has angered Turkey, which backs the rebels, and introduced the 2 nations’ troops right into a uncommon, direct confrontation. Two separate clashes between Syrian and Turkish troops have killed 13 on all sides, together with 5 Turkish troopers who have been killed in Syrian shelling on Monday.
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Akar spoke because the Syrian authorities forces got here nearer to capturing the last rebel-held a part of a strategic freeway linking southern and northern Syria, which might deliver the highway beneath Assad’s full management for the primary time since 2012.
With backing from Russia, Syrian troops have been on the offensive for weeks in Idlib and elements of Aleppo, triggering a humanitarian disaster with some 700,000 individuals fleeing their properties and surging north towards the Turkish border.
Akar mentioned Turkey was urgent Russia to use its affect on Syria’s authorities to be sure that Syrian forces pull again to a beforehand agreed cease-fire line, and to vacate a strategic freeway.
“We have asked for regime elements to immediately withdraw from the M5 route and we will continue to ask (for that),” Akar mentioned.
“We want (them) to stop these regime attacks immediately, to (ensure) the ceasefire is complied with and in turn, for the people to return to their homes, their land,” the minister mentioned.
The minister insisted Turkey’s purpose in Idlib is to shore up a cease-fire settlement for the area that was negotiated in 2018 and stop a refugee circulation. The cease-fire, which has since collapsed, was brokered by Russia, which backs Assad, and Turkey, which helps some rebel teams within the space.
Akar spoke hours earlier than he was due to depart Ankara for a NATO defence ministers assembly in Brussels.
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Requested what Turkey’s expectations have been from the assembly, Akar known as for “concrete” strikes by allies to cease Syrian authorities aggression in Idlib, which he mentioned would set off a brand new refugee wave that may threaten Europe and past. He additionally warned that the humanitarian scenario in Idlib would lead to elevated radicalization.
“NATO countries, NATO, Europe and the world must look at this issue more closely and must provide serious, concrete support,” Akar mentioned.
“People who lose their homes and households try to do things in desperation and this strengthens the hands of the radicals. And in one way or another paves the way to radicalization,” he mentioned.
© 2020 The Canadian Press