Turkey: Syrian regime should not play with fire

Turkey yesterday called on the Syrian regime “not to play with fire,” a day after an airstrike on a Turkish convoy in Syria’s north-eastern city of Idlib.

“The regime needs to not play with fire,” Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, told reporters in the capital city of Ankara, stressing that his country would “do whatever it takes to secure our troops.”

On Monday, the Syrian regime warplanes attacked a Turkish military convoy making its way through Syria’s rebel-held Idlib province. The convoy was said to have aimed at ensuring the safety of an observation post in the de-escalation zone, keeping supply routes open, and preventing civilian casualties in the region.

The attack has left at least three civilians killed and 12 others injured.

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Although the attack targeted the 9th observation post, manned by Turkish soldiers, Cavusoglu said Turkey had “no intention of moving our post to the south.”

In September, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone where acts of aggression are expressly prohibited. The Syrian regime and its allies, however, have consistently broken the terms of the cease-fire, launching frequent attacks inside the de-escalation zone.

The zone is currently inhabited by some four million civilians, thousands of whom have been displaced in recent years by the Syrian forces from their homes across Syria.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials