Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused on Monday the Syrian regime of violating a ceasefire in the northwestern Idlib region, warning that Damascus would suffer “heavy losses” if it persisted.
Speaking in Istanbul after a cabinet meeting, he said regime was using the coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity to ramp up violence in Idlib.
Turkey would not allow any “dark groups” in the region to violate the ceasefire either, he vowed.
“Turkey remains committed to an agreement that it reached with Russia and will not give way to the (Syrian) regime’s aggression,” Erdogan said.
His comments came amid reports of limited Syrian violations and exchanges of fire between troops and Turkey-backed opposition forces, though the truce appeared to be mostly holding.
Turkey and Russia, which back opposing sides in Syria’s war, agreed on March 5 to halt hostilities in northwestern Syria after an escalation of clashes there displaced nearly a million people and brought the two sides close to confrontation.
The deal halted a three-month Syrian regime offensive into the country’s last opposition stronghold.