In the wake of Syrian regime attack on Turkish troops in Idlib, Turkey’s Defense Ministry vowed to retaliate against any attack.
“All kind of attacks will be retaliated in proportion, our observation posts [in Idlib] will continue their duties,” Col. Olcay Denizer, a Defense Ministry spokesman, told a press briefing in the capital Ankara.
Meanwhile, on a question about reports that Assad regime forces surrounded Saraqib, Idlib, security sources said Turkey’s priority is to stop such attacks and to ensure cease-fire, and Turkish troops are taking necessary precautions.
“Our troops are ready to retaliate against any attack on our observation posts under the right of self-defense,” they said.
On Monday, Assad regime attack in Idlib, northwestern Syria, martyred seven Turkish soldiers and one civilian contractor working with the Turkish military. Thirteen individuals were injured but are stable, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar had said.
In retaliation for the deadly attack, Turkey struck over 50 targets and killed 76 Syrian soldiers, according to Akar.
Idlib has been a stronghold of opposition and anti-government armed groups since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011.
Denizer also said Turkish army elements retaliated against more than 500 harassing fire and attacks under the right of self-defense.
As part of Operation Peace Spring, Turkey’s anti-terror offensive in northern Syria, an area of more than 4,000 kilometer square (nearly 2,500 miles square) was taken under control, he added.
Denizer stated that the activities continue as part of the agreement reached by Turkey and Russia on Oct. 22, 2019 in Sochi.
Anti-terror operations in N. Iraq
He said 174 terrorists were neutralized in northern Iraq as part of Turkey’s counter-terrorism efforts, which launched several phrases of Operation Claw in the region.
On May 27, Turkey launched Operation Claw against the PKK in the Hakurk region of northern Iraq, followed by several next phases.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
On fight against Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup, Denizer said more than 18,800 people were dismissed since the July 15 as part of investigations into FETO.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Turkey accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.