Ankara Vows Retaliation against Syrian Regime Attacks on Turkish Observation Posts
Ankara warned neighboring Damascus that regime forces assaulting any Turkish observation posts set up in Syria’s northern Idlib province would be unacceptable.
Moscow and Tehran, both regime backers, were also asked to reign in Syrian army forces attacking Turkish assets in the war-torn Middle Eastern country.
According to the Defense Ministry, Turkey's 10th observation post was "deliberately" targeted in a recent mortar attack in which three soldiers were wounded.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu confirmed that “Turkey won’t tolerate Syrian regime harassment of its soldiers,” just hours after an attack occurred. He stressed that Ankara “will teach them their place,” but that essentially it is the responsibility of Russia and Iran to halt the attacks.
Speaking during his visit to the southern Turkish province of Hatay, which is near borders with Syria, Cavusoglu held Russia and Iran responsible for regime actions based on arrangements achieved at the trilateral Syria peace talks held in the Kazakh capital, Astana.
Contrary to Russia and Iran, who act as backers of the Syrian regime, Turkey presents itself as a guarantor for opposition armed factions at the Astana sessions.
“At that point, stopping the regime is the responsibility of Russia and Iran, which we have been working with closely in Syria, so far. They are both guarantors of the regime in the political process and according to commitments on the ground,” Cavusoglu said.
Earlier Sunday, Syrian regime forces attacked a Turkish observation post in Idlib with no casualties; Turkey retaliated with heavy weapons, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
Regime forces have repeatedly targeted Turkish observation posts in de-escalation zones in Idlib and Hama provinces in north and central Syria.
Ankara, therefore, considered the recent attack a breach of the Sochi agreement with Russia, which established a buffer zone to protect Idlib’s armed opposition factions from regime offensives—it was reached last September between Ankara and Moscow.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for his part, vowed Turkey would retaliate against Syrian regime attacks against its assets in Syria.