Turkey’s National Security Council declares extra security measures in Syria's Idlib
Turkey’s National Security Council has issued a statement focusing largely on developments in Syria and Libya after a five-hour meeting in Ankara on Thursday.
"Despite the agreements with states playing an active in Syria, Turkey will take additional measures necessary against terrorist attacks aiming security forces and civilians in the country, especially in Idlib," the statement of the council, which shapes Turkey’s national security policy, said.
Turkey and Russia signed an agreement to prevent an attack on Idlib in September 2018, setting the condition that Turkey must clear extremist groups from the province.
But the Syrian regime and Russia resumed their assault on the province last April, saying the continued presence of rebel groups they called extremists had breached the agreement.
The council also reiterated Turkey's support for Libya's U.N.-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA). Turkey has extended a crucial line of support to the GNA, while the Libyan National Army (LNA) has been boosted by 2,500 mercenaries from the Russian Wagner company, and 5,000 Sudanese soldiers, as well as considerable military and financial aid from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Chad and Nigeria.
General Khalifa Haftar, the leader of the LNA, has yet to sign the ceasefire agreement devised by Russia and Turkey on Jan. 12. He abandoned talks on a ceasefire in Moscow earlier this month and his blockade of Libyan oilfields undermined a summit in Berlin on Jan. 19 aimed at cementing a fragile truce.
"All countries are invited to support efforts to establish a permanent ceasefire. Alongside with Turkey's rights and interests in the Mediterranean, Ankara's commitment to equity-based peace and stability by force of the country's 500-year bond with the Libyan people," the statement said.
The National Security Council also touched on U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan which promises to keep Jerusalem as Israel's undivided capital, proposes an independent Palestinian state and the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over West Bank settlements.
"It was emphasised that the plan declared by the U.S. administration regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an annexation plan that aims to legitimise the policies of occupation, destruction and oppression towards Palestine and Jerusalem," it said.