The Syrian regime should not play with fire, says Turkish foreign minister

The Syrian regime should not play with fire as Turkey will do everything in its power to protect the safety of its soldiers, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Tuesday following an attack by the Syrian regime near a Turkish convoy in Idlib.

“The regime should not be playing with fire. We will do whatever is necessary to project the safety of our soldiers,” state-run Anadolu news agency quoted Çavuşoğlu as saying during a press conference with his Salvadoran counterpart Alexandra Hill in Ankara.

Air raids struck near a Turkish military convoy making its way through Syria’s rebel-held Idlib province on Monday, killing at least three civilians and injuring 12, according to the Turkish defence ministry.

Ankara has said the convoy was heading to one of its observation posts in Morek in northwest Syria.

The Turkish foreign minister said that Ankara was continuing its talks with Russian officials on the matter and would continue to work towards ensuring the safety of Turkey’s observation points.

Turkey backs some of the rebels in northwest Syria and has deployed forces into the Idlib region under deals with staunch Syrian regime supporter, Moscow.

Pointing out that Monday’s attack took place at observation post no. 9, Çavuşoğlu said Ankara had no intention of carrying the post elsewhere.

Turkey currently maintains 12 observation points around the rebel-held province.

Meanwhile, Syria’s state-run SANA agency on Tuesday quoted Syrian President Bashar Assad as accusing Turkey of providing support to terrorists in the country, citing the most recent developments in Idlib as proof of Ankara’s aid.

Assad vowed to continue fighting terrorism ‘’despite the continuing support provided to terrorists by several Western and regional sides, mainly Turkey, as recent battles in Idleb proved Ankara’s clear and unlimited support for terrorists,’’ SANA said.