Ankara claims to have plans B and C to end terrorists in Idlib


MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Turkey has alternative plans to clean up the Idlib distention zone in northern Syria from terrorists, Ottoman Defense Minister Hulusi Akar warned.

“We often ask our strategic partners to carry out a joint anti-terrorist operation to clear our border area of ​​terrorists and we told them that we have a plan B and C if they do not accept our offer,” Akar told Hurriyet newspaper.

He added that Ankara will do “whatever is necessary” if the president of Syria, Bashar Asad, tries to put obstacles to the military reinforcements that Turkey sends to its observation posts in the areas recently occupied by the Syrian troops.

“The observation posts will be maintained in the areas according to the agreements signed with Russia and will continue to be reinforced,” the minister said.

Idlib is part of one of the four relaxation zones agreed in May 2017 during the negotiations in Astana, three of these zones passed under the control of Damascus in 2018.
According to the results of these negotiations, Turkey created 12 observation posts in the relaxation zone in Idlib.
The fourth, which covers Idlib and areas of the neighboring governorates of Latakia, Hama and Aleppo, remains in the hands of the Nusra Front (terrorist group banned in Russia).

In September 2018, Putin and Erdogan signed a memorandum in the city of Sochi to create a demilitarized zone in the province of Idlib, where there are more than a dozen different armed groups.

In early January, a ceasefire agreed by Russia and Turkey was decreed in that area.

However, despite the armistice, illegal armed groups launched a series of attacks in the Idlib distention zone that, as reported last week by the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria, caused more than 330 deaths since January 9 people, including both military and civilians, so the Syrian Army launched a counteroffensive against terrorists in the area.
At dawn on February 3 at least five Turkish soldiers died in an armed confrontation with Syrian soldiers in Idlib, an area in which the terrorist group Hayat Tahrir al Sham operates (formerly known as the Nusra Front, banned in Russia).
Turkey claimed to have neutralized dozens of Syrian military in a response operation.

In turn, the Russian military said that their Turkish colleagues had not warned about the transfers they were going to make in the area of ​​relaxation of Idlib and were under fire that the Syrian government troops had opened against the terrorists.

On February 4, Erdogan said he had urged Putin to pressure the Syrian government to withdraw his troops from the Turkish observation posts in Idlib.


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