At least 29 Turkish soldiers were killed in Syria’s Idlib province in an aerial attack by Syrian forces, according to Gov. Rahmi Dogan of Turkey’s Hatay province. Thirty-six soldiers injured in the attack have been evacuated to hospitals in Turkey, Dogan said
According to reports, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called a high-level security meeting, after which Turkey will respond to the Syrian attacks. Idlib is currently in the control of the rebels and the Syrian army supported by Russia wants to free Idlib from the rebels supported by the Turkish army.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg following the Syrian attack, according to a statement released by the ministry. There were no further details about the content of the call.
Earlier, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed that Turkey would not take the “smallest step back” in an escalating stand-off with Damascus and Russia over the northern Syrian region of Idlib.
“We will not take the smallest step back in Idlib, we will certainly push the regime outside the borders we designated, and ensure the return of the people to their homes,” Erdogan told the ruling party’s lawmakers in parliament in Ankara.
Erdogan bluntly warned the Syrian regime to “stop its attacks as soon as possible” and to pull back by the end of February. “The time we have given to those who attacked our observation towers is running out,” Erdogan said.