Turkey deploys more soldiers to Syria's Idlib

Published 13.02.2020 15:17
Updated 13.02.2020 15:52
Multiple rocket launchers photographed near the Syrian border in Turkey's southern Hatay province on Feb. 13, 2020 AA Photo
Multiple rocket launchers photographed near the Syrian border in Turkey's southern Hatay province on Feb. 13, 2020 (AA Photo)

The Turkish military has dispatched more soldiers and stationed multiple rocket launchers on the Syrian border as it continues to reinforce units and equipment at Turkey's observation posts in northwestern Idlib province.

The rocket launchers were deployed in Hatay province, while commando squads headed to their units in armored vehicles.

In a statement, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Turkey is dispatching additional units to uphold and ensure the sustainability of the cease-fire and gain control over the area in Idlib.

"Turkish troops will use force against everyone who does not abide by the Idlib cease-fire, including radical groups," Akar told reporters on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Brussels.

Turkey has been reinforcing its observation posts in Idlib following two attacks by the Assad regime forces, which left 13 Turkish soldiers and a civilian dead, and 45 others injured.

The military previously sent a convoy of at least 330 military vehicles, the largest of its kind sent to the region in recent times.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Wednesday that Turkey will hit all targets it deems a threat, while he reiterated once again that Turkey expects the Assad regime to retreat behind the observation posts by the end of February or face consequences.

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has also reiterated Turkey's determination to ensure security in Idlib, noting that the country has alternative plans if all else fails.

So far, Turkey has carried out three cross-border operations in northern Syria to eliminate terrorists near its borders in order to secure national security, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria's territorial integrity. These military operations came as individual efforts when Ankara's legitimate security concerns were not relieved by strategic partners despite constant warnings.

Assad regime forces entered the strategic town of Saraqib in Idlib in a renewed push by the regime to recapture the last opposition bastion, disregarding Turkey's warnings to withdraw.

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