Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to continue retaliating heavily to any attacks against Turkish forces in Syria’s Idlib Province, after six Turkish soldiers were killed.
“We have responded in kind to these attacks and will continue to do so, whether it is with our artillery or mortars,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul on Monday, adding that a military operation in Syria’s northwestern Idlib Province is ongoing.
He said that the Turkish heavy howitzers and F-16 jets hit around 40 targets, “neutralizing” between 30 and 35 Syrian government soldiers. Sources told the Daily Sabah that Ankara deployed special forces along the border with Syria.
Erdogan stated that Turkey will continue to use military to maintain “security” in Idlib. “Those who question our determination will soon understand they made a mistake,” he said.
Earlier that day, six Turkish soldiers were killed and several others wounded during what Turkey said was shelling by the Syrian army.
In September 2018, Russia and Turkey agreed to set up a demilitarized zone in Idlib. However, numerous ceasefire violations have been reported since then.
Speaking on Monday, Erdogan said that Turkish officials are in talks with their Russian counterparts, and that the president himself is ready to engage in talks if needed.