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Erdogan says Turkey will not allow the Syrian regime to advance in Idlib

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey will not allow the Syrian regime to achieve further field progress in Idlib, the last province outside its control in northwestern Syria.

“The regime is seeking to advance in the Idlib field by displacing innocent people heading towards our borders. We will not give the regime an opportunity to advance, because that will increase the burden on us,” Erdogan said in comments published by the Turkish media on Tuesday.

Erdogan’s comments came in response to questions from journalists on the plane that took him to Ukraine on Monday.

The publication of these statements comes in the wake of unprecedented battles between the Turkish army and the Syrian forces in Idlib Governorate, which killed at least 20 people.

Eight Turkish soldiers were killed on Sunday night-Monday by bombing of the Syrian regime. Ankara responded by launching strikes on Syrian sites in which at least 13 people were killed.

“I think that our operation taught them a harsh lesson, but we will not stop, we will continue with the same determination,” Erdogan added in comments reported by the official Anatolia Agency.

He considered that the regime’s attack on Turkish forces was a “violation” of the Russian-Turkish ceasefire agreement in Idlib, adding, “Of course, there will be consequences for the system.”

Erdogan did not seem to want to escalate the tone toward Syria, an ally of the Syrian regime, after he accused her on Monday of “not fulfilling its obligations.”

“At this stage, there is no need to start a major conflict or conflict with Russia. We have many strategic plans with Russia,” the Turkish president said, referring to the Russian-Turkish partnership in several fields, especially in the energy and tourism sector, through the defense sector.

He also stressed that the issue of reconsideration regarding the purchase of the Russian “S-400” air defense system “is not raised.”

He said it was “likely” that he would make a phone call to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on Tuesday.

Although Moscow and Ankara support two warring parties in Syria, which has been in conflict since 2011, they have strengthened their cooperation on the Syrian file since 2016.

Ankara, in particular, opposes a large-scale operation of the Syrian regime in Idlib with the aim of avoiding the flow of more migrants towards Turkey, which already receives 3.6 million Syrian refugees.

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