Turkey Vows to Drive Syrian Army Out of Idlib Unless It Leaves Province by End of February

Middle East

Tensions in northern Syria began to escalate earlier this month when Turkey retaliated against the killing of eight Turkish nationals in a shelling which Ankara claims was conducted by Syrian forces on one of Turkey’s observation posts in the Arab country’s Idlib province.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay told the country’s NTV broadcaster on Saturday that Ankara “has fulfilled its responsibilities” in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, in sync with its agreement on de-escalation zones with Moscow and Tehran.

“Some of our [military] observation posts have now fallen into areas controlled by the [Syrian] regime”, Oktay added, in an apparent reference to the posts that Turkey established in the province under the trilateral deal.

He also warned that Ankara will use military power to drive the Syrian Army out of Idlib unless it withdraws from the province by the end of February.

“The [Bashar Assad] regime must know this: if attacks on our military continue, Turkey will know no bounds [in its retaliation]. This message was clearly conveyed to Russia”, Oktay said

He spoke after the Russian Defence Ministry blamed the escalation of the situation in Idlib on Turkey’s failure to live up to its obligations on Syria.

“The real reason of the crisis in Idlib de-escalation zone is, unfortunately, the failure of our Turkish colleagues to adhere to their commitments on separating moderate…

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