The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu issued a strong warning to the Assad regime a day after an airstrike targeted a Turkish military convoy while on its way to an observation post in Idlib province, which is covered by the ‘de-escalation zone’ agreement.
“The regime needs to not play with fire. We will do whatever it takes to secure our troops,” Cavusoglu told a press conference in the capital Ankara on Tuesday.
Although the attack targeted the 9th observation post, manned by Turkish soldiers, Cavusoglu said that Turkey has no intention of moving the post anywhere.
When asked about Turkey’s plans for the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria, Cavusoglu said that negotiations with the US officials regarding technical matters of the planned safe zone are underway.
Cavusoglu said that talks with Washington on the establishment of the safe zone will continue, adding that “Turkey does have a plan if we do not reach an agreement. Turkey would not allow the US to repeat the procrastination it showed during the Turkish-US talks on a roadmap for the Manbij region.”
With regards to the PYD militia, Turkey’s top diplomat stressed that “they would not tolerate the US to stall Turkey on the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria while it is providing weapons for terror organizations on the other hand.”
Cavusoglu’s remarks came one day after the Assad regime attacked a Turkish convoy while it was on its way to the 9th observation post in southern rural Idlib. The attack killed three civilians and injured 12 others who were nearby, according to a statement by the Turkish Ministry of Defense.
Turkey reinforced its observation posts in Syria during the last two days as it sent new military reinforcements to Idlib on Monday with the aim of safeguarding the Idlib Agreement and preventing the Assad regime forces and their allied militias from advancing further in the region. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department + Anadolu Agency)