Turkey wants Russia to take steps over small violations of a week-long ceasefire by its allied Syrian government forces in Idlib province, president Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated, warning that Ankara will respond heavily if its military supervision posts in the region come under attack Turkey and Russia, which backed up opposing sides in Syria’s war, agreed on the ceasefire to stop escalating clashes in Idlib that brought the two countries nearer to direct confrontation amid a Moscow-backed Syrian government offensive that has displaced millions of people.
Along with supporting certain rebel groups in Idlib, the last opposition stronghold in Syria, Turkey set up 12 posts in the province under a 2018 deal with Russia aimed at preventing an assault by the Syrian president’s forces.
Erdogan said, “ In the face of the smaller attack, we won’t only retaliate but we will respond more heavily.” the president of Turkey agreed to the ceasefire last week his Russian counterpart but earlier deals have proved temporary.
“ In such cases, though these are only small incidents around, the ceasefire has started to be violated,” Erdogan added to this, “we share these developments with Russia and we want Russia to take more steps.”
Within the ceasefire deal, Turkey and Russia also agreed to establish a secure corridor along a key east-west highway in Idlib and hold joint patrols on it.
By next week, the agreement would be finalized and the Russian delegation arrived in Ankara on Tuesday for talks. The defense ministry said the talks on implementing the ceasefire have so far been “positive and constructive”.
However, Turkey already has hosted four million refugees and called for greater assistance from Europe and NATO partners in dealing with the crisis. It has launched a full-scale operation in Syria after many soldiers were killed in Idlib last month.