Turkish army soldiers stand guard as Kurdish people wait in a hope to enter Cizre, a town subject to a curfew as part of a controversial operation against Kurdish rebels, on March 22, 2016 in Mardin, for Newroz celebration. Nowruz, the Farsi-language word for 'New Year', is an ancient Persian festival, celebrated on the first day of spring, March 21, in Central Asian republics, Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan and Iran. / AFP PHOTO / ILYAS AKENGIN

Tensions in northern Syria began to escalate earlier this month when Turkey retaliated against the killing of eight Turkish nationals in a shelling which Ankara claims was conducted by Syrian forces on one of Turkey’s observation posts in the Arab country’s Idlib province.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay told the country’s NTV broadcaster on Saturday that Ankara “has fulfilled its responsibilities” in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, in sync with its agreement on de-escalation zones with Moscow and Tehran.

“Some of our [military] observation posts have now fallen into areas controlled by the [Syrian] regime”, Oktay added, in an apparent reference to the posts that Turkey established in the province under the trilateral deal.

He also warned that Ankara will use military power to drive the Syrian Army out of Idlib unless it withdraws from the province by the end of February.

“The [Bashar Al-Assad] regime must know this: if attacks on our military continue, Turkey will know no bounds [in its retaliation]. This message was clearly conveyed to Russia”, Oktay said

He spoke after the Russian Defense Ministry blamed the escalation of the situation in Idlib on Turkey’s failure to live up to its obligations on Syria.

“The real reason of the crisis in Idlib de-escalation zone is, unfortunately, the failure of our Turkish colleagues to adhere to their commitments on separating moderate opposition fighters from terrorists of Jabhat al-Nusra* and Hurras ad-Din [linked to al-Qaeda*], the Ministry said.

It pointed to “provocations in Idlib de-escalation zone by the terrorist groups that use ‘live shield’ against the Syrian government forces”.

ALSO READ  Syrian, Russian airstrikes resume in Idlib as tensions increase with Turkey

The Ministry also said that the situation in Idlib is “exacerbated by the arrival of weapons and ammunition in the de-escalation zone via the Syrian-Turkish border, as well as the arrival of Turkish armoured vehicles and troops” in the area.

The statement came as Syrian government forces increased their efforts to expel militants from Idlib, the only remaining militant stronghold in Syria. At the same time, the Turkish Defence Ministry reported that the country’s military has been conducting retaliatory attacks on Syrian government forces.

Earlier this week, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented on the situation in Idlib by emphasising that Damascus had every right to engage in anti-terrorist operations on its own territory.

“This is a matter of fulfilling the Sochi accords [on Idlib de-escalation zone] and the obligations that the parties assumed in accordance with this document. Also, perhaps first and foremost, we’re talking about the fight against terrorism that the Syrian Armed Forces are waging on the territory of their country”, Peskov pointed out.

 

Source: Sputnik

 

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FairsFair
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FairsFair

Erdogan is talking about thee end of Feb because it will take Turkey that long to try and establish overwhelming ground forces. in the mean time, the SAA with RuAf backup has momentum and are retrieving critical areas of Idlib. Two weeks allows for the SAA to dig in and to to bring in reinforcements. Also, I think the Russians will help the Syrians in this endeavour because they want to protect an ally, the Syrian Government, which in turn leases the Khmeimim Air Base and the port of Tartus to them.

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Soizic

Pourquoi la fin de février? Parce que le pauvre Herrdogan ne sait que faire, coincé entre deux feux qu’il a lui même créé!
C’est jouissif!