Ankara vows retaliation if Syrian gov’t violates Idlib ceasefire

Mevlut Cavusoglu

The wayward province of Idlib, now the last major piece of territory outside Damascus’s control in Syria’s west, is subject to a ceasefire deal between Turkish and Syrian forces brokered by Russia following weeks of heavy fighting.

Turkey will “retaliate” if Syrian government forces violate the Idlib ceasefire deal, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has warned.

Speaking with Turkey’s Anadolu news agency on Tuesday, the foreign minister said the ceasefire would help protect civilians in the militant-controlled Syrian province.

Cavusoglu also commented on the Turkish request for the deployment of US Patriot missile systems along the country’s southern borders. According to the foreign minster, Turkey’s possession of Russian-made S-400 missile systems were ‘not an obstacle’ to the deployment of the US weapons.

On Monday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that he had asked Turkey’s NATO allies for “additional…assistance on Syria – for the defence of the border, and in connection with the migration challenge.”

President Trump revealed March 1 that he had been speaking with his Turkish counterpart about Ankara’s request for Patriot missile systems amid the situation in Idlib. Last Tuesday, US Ambassador to Turkey David Satterfield said these discussions were still ongoing.

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