Turkey will strike Syrian forces “everywhere” if its soldiers come under renewed attack, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Wednesday, while also accusing Damascus ally Russia of committing “massacres” in Idlib, AFP reports.
Erdogan’s threats follow direct clashes between Turkish and Syrian forces over the past 10 days, which have also strained his relations with Moscow, the key backer of President Bashar al-Assad.
Turkey has beefed up its positions in Idlib – the last rebel bastion in Syria – with hundreds of vehicles carrying commandos, howitzers, and soldiers crossing the border over the last few days.
“I hereby declare that we will strike regime forces everywhere from now on regardless of the Sochi deal if any tiny bit of harm comes to our soldiers at observation posts or elsewhere,” Erdogan told a meeting of his ruling party in parliament.
He said 14 Turks have been killed and 45 wounded in Idlib since February 3.
Assad’s forces, backed by Russian air strikes, have pressed ahead with an offensive to retake the province from rebel groups despite the 2018 Sochi ceasefire deal agreed between Turkey and Russia.