Turkey vows to keep presence in Idlib amid escalation with Syrian gov't

Source: Xinhua| 2020-02-11 01:24:57|Editor: yan
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ANKARA, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- Turkey's army would continue its presence in Syria's Idlib and retaliate when necessary, said the country's Vice President Fuat Oktay on Monday.

Oktay made the statement after five Turkish soldiers were killed and five others wounded in a conflict with the Syrian government forces in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib earlier.

Turkish military "will continue to exist in the region and will give the necessary response to those who disregard international law," Oktay said on his Twitter account.

"We responded to the cowards for many times. Our glorious army will continue to do what it takes," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on his Twitter account.

The attack came following Turkey's deployment of thousands of troops at Idlib's Taftanaz Airport to prevent the Syrian forces' advance in the region.

"A heinous attack occurred today in Idlib, where our military serves, pursuant to our rights under international law, to end the violence and mitigate the humanitarian crisis," Fahrettin Altun, the presidential communications director, said on his Twitter account.

Turkey retaliated against the attack to destroy all enemy targets, Altun said, accusing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of standing against the "international community."

Last week, Turkish Defense Ministry said an attack by the Syrian government forces on Turkish soldiers has killed eight personnel of the army in Idlib. Monday's attack came as Russian and Turkish delegations were holding talks in Turkey's capital Ankara over the escalation of tension in Idlib.