Army will take steps if Syrian regime misses withdrawal deadline: AKP spokesperson
The Turkish military has made the necessary preparations in case the Syrian regime forces do not withdraw to their previous positions by the end of February, the spokesman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), said on Feb. 27.
“When the deadline given to the regime to withdraw expires, the Turkish Armed Forces will carry out their duties based on the orders they receive and nobody should doubt our determination about this,” Ömer Çelik told reporters in Ankara.
On Feb. 26, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he would probably meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Istanbul on March 5 to discuss the situation Idlib. However, the Kremlin said on Feb. 27 that Putin “currently has no plans for such talks on that date.”
Çelik said work on a date for the meeting was ongoing.
Regime forces backed by its allies, Iran and Russia, have been trying to capture the Aleppo countryside and parts of neighboring Idlib province, a stronghold of opposition forces in the war-torn country.
Turkey, which has already taken in over 3.6 million Syrian refugees, says it cannot handle another influx and has closed the border. Some migrants have made homes along the border wall, using it to prop up tents and shelters.
Besides a refugee crisis, their advances have also affected cooperation between Moscow and Ankara, which sent its troops to Idlib as part of the 2017 Astana and 2018 Sochi accords that sought de-escalation.