Turkey has decided to no longer stop Syrian refugees from reaching Europe by land and sea, a senior Turkish official told Reuters on Thursday, in anticipation of the imminent arrival of refugees from Syria's Idlib where nearly a million have been displaced.
Turkish police, coast guard and border security officials have been ordered to stand down, the Turkish official added.
Earlier on Thursday, border town Hatay's governor Rahmi Doğan said that an Assad regime attack on Turkish military in Idlib killed twenty-two soldiers.
Earlier on the same day President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan convened an emergency meeting over tensions in the war-ravaged Syrian city.
Security sources told Daily Sabah that all ministers and senior officials, including the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) chief Hakan Fidan, were present in the meeting.
Meanwhile, the Directorate of Communications released a statement on the Turkish offensive against Syrian regime forces.
It said Turkish forces have neutralized at least 1,709 Assad regime soldiers, as well as 55 tanks, three helicopters, 18 armored vehicles, 29 howitzers, 21 military vehicles, six ammunition depots, seven mortars and four Soviet-made DShK heavy machine guns.
In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone, in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
But more than 1,300 civilians have been killed in attacks by the regime and Russian forces in the de-escalation zone since then as the cease-fire continues to be violated.
More than 1 million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to some intense attacks.
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