Erdogan "Tomorrow I will announce the steps we will take"
Turkey - SMART
On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that on Wednesday, Turkey will announce the next steps regarding the situation in the Idlib governorate, Northern Syria. Erdogan vowed to continue responding to the Syrian government forces after the latter's shelling killed and injured Turkish soldiers in Idlib.
In his speech in Ankara, Erdogan said, "We gave the necessary responses to the Syrian side at the highest level. Especially in Idlib, they got what they deserved. But this is not enough, it will continue (..) They will pay very heavy price for attacking Turkish troops."
Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkish Foreign Minister, stated that the Syrian government’s brutal attacks target civilians, hosiptals, and schools, and that the Turkish Army will directly repsond to the attacks. Cavusoglu added that Russia and Iran which guarantee the Syrian government should stop its hostilities.
On Monday, a Syrian government forces’ artillery shelling killed and injured Turkish soldiers in the Taftanaz Military Airbase, 15 kilometers east of Idlib. Earlier, a Syrian government forces' shelling killed and injured 13 Turkish soliders, eastern Idlib.
Erdogan delivered his statements after the failure of the first and second rounds of Russian-Turkish negotiations regarding Syrian government forces' military operation in Idlib.
The Syrian government forces and their allied militias, supported by Russia, are launching a ground attack on the southern and western Aleppo countryside, and the southern and eastern Idlib countryside. During this attack, the Syrian government forces gained control of dozens of villages and towns in the area, after intensified bombings. The bombings killed and injured hundreds of civilians and forced hundreds of thousands to displace.
This attack is considered a continuation of the Syrian government forces and Russian military operation launched on Idlib in Apr. 25, 2019. During the military operation, the Syrian government forces gained total control of the northern Hama countryside and the Khan Shaykhun area. Military analysts and journalists said that by this military operation, the Syrian government aims to gain control of the Aleppo-Damascus international highway that connects Turkey to Jordan and the Arab Gulf States in order to reopen it later under Russian and Turkish sponsorship agreed upon by the two countries.