Erdogan warns Assad to leave Turkey’s Idlib posts alone

“If the Syrian regime will not retreat from Turkish observation posts in Idlib in February, Turkey itself will be obliged to make this happen,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his party’s MPs in parliament, on Wednesday.

“Turkey’s air and land forces will move freely in all operation areas [in Syria] and in Idlib, and they will conduct operations if needed,” he added, amid speculation of fresh Turkish moves in northern Syria.

The Syrian regime is violating the cease-fires reached in Idlib, said Erdogan, citing an attack this Monday that killed seven Turkish soldiers.

The attack on our soldiers the day before was a turning point in Syria for Turkey,” he said.

Erdogan added that every attack on Turkish soldiers or its allies will face retaliation, without any warning, regardless of the source of the attack.

In its military operations, “Turkey’s main principle is not to hurt lives or the property of innocent people,” he said.

Turning to Moscow, which has worked with Ankara on bringing peace to Syria amid devastating attacks on Idlib and other areas, Erdogan said Turkey’s sole expectation from Russia in Syria is that it understands Turkey’s sensitivities.