Turkey will use force against 'radicals', others who violate Idlib ceasefire

Turkey will use force against 'radicals', others who violate Idlib ceasefire

News Service Reuters

Turkey will use force against those violating a ceasefire in Syria's northwestern Idlib region including "radical" groups, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Thursday, according to state media.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that his military would strike Syrian government forces by air or ground anywhere in Syria if another Turkish soldier was hurt, after 13 troops were killed by Syrian forces in a week.

Akar also said Turkey was sending additional reinforcements to its positions in Idlib to ensure a ceasefire in the region is maintained and to "control" the region, state-run Anadolu news agency quoted him as saying.

"Force will be used against those violating the ceasefire, including radicals, and every measure will be taken," Akar said, referring to a Jan. 12 ceasefire Ankara says has been violated by Assad's forces. Ankara has deployed more than 1,000 troops to its military posts in Idlib since last week.

On Wednesday, Erdogan said Ankara had given a message to the opposition fighters it supports in the conflict to refrain from acting in an "undisciplined" way and give Syrian forces an excuse to strike.

Turkey, a NATO ally with the alliance's second largest army, has repeatedly urged Russia to stop the Syrian attacks in Idlib, warning that it will use military power to push back the Syrian forces unless they withdraw by the end of the month.

Ankara and Moscow back opposing sides, but have collaborated on a political solution to the war.


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