Turkey's president warns of "imminent" Turkish operation in Syria

Source: Xinhua| 2020-02-20 02:21:57|Editor: huaxia

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at an event in Istanbul, Turkey, on Feb. 15, 2020. (Turkish Presidential Palace/Handout via Xinhua)

If the Syrian government does not retreat from Syria's Idlib by February, Turkey will launch an operation, warns Turkish president.

ANKARA, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday vowed to launch an operation into the Idlib province of Syria if the Syrian government does not retreat by the end of February.

"We are counting down and making our final warnings ... An operation in Idlib is imminent," the president said while addressing his party's members at the parliament.

Erdogan said that talks between Turkish and Russian delegations in Moscow, aiming for a diplomatic solution to calm down tension in Idlib, did not yield consensus, but the two countries will continue discussions.

"Unfortunately, we couldn't reach the desired result. Although we will continue discussions, our views are far from each other," he added.

Turkey and Russia have been holding discussions to reach a consensus for ease the escalation of tension in Idlib.

Tensions in the region have escalated after Turkey claimed that Syrian government's attacks in Idlib killed 13 Turkish military personnel.

Turkey urges Russia to convince Damascus to retreat to the lines agreed in the Sochi deal previously brokered by Ankara and Moscow.

Turkey and Russia signed the Sochi deal on Sept. 17, 2018, based on which both sides agreed to set up a demilitarized zone in Idlib.

Turkey rejected the proposed documents and maps by Russia, Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin told reporters late Tuesday.

He stressed that some arguments of Russian officials "do not reflect the reality."

"We observe that there are some remarks like 'The map (of Syria) needs to be redrawn considering the changing conditions.' I would like to correct this point here. First, the changing conditions are imposed conditions, not the realities of the field," Kalin said.