Idlib at 'very critical stage,' official says
Smoke billows above buildings during an air strike by pro-regime forces on the village of Nayrab, about 14 kilometers southeast of the city of Idlib in northwestern Syria on Feb. 25, 2020. (AFP Photo)
Turkey’s presidential spokesman said on Feb. 25 that there is a “very critical stage in Idlib,” a de-escalation zone in northwestern Syria, at the moment, as the fighting is going on in the region.
Speaking at an interview with CNN International, İbrahim Kalın also said that the military situation on the ground in northwestern Syria “remains very critical.”
"We are sending the reinforcement to protect our already existing 12 military observation posts in the Idlib area. Some of those military posts have been now surrounded by the regime forces, so we had to take action to protect our soldiers there and also the civilians," Kalın said, responding to a question on Turkey's military reinforcement in the region.
The Turkish official also underlined that the regime has been attacking civilians and civilian infrastructures brutally over the last few months.
Mentioning Turkey's efforts to stop attacks in the region as part of the Idlib deal reached with Russia, he said: "Civilian situation is really getting worse by the day and we are the only one trying to protect civilian people from the regime attacks."
In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn northwestern Syrian province of Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
However, the Syrian regime and its allies, including the Iranian-backed forces, have consistently broken the terms of the cease-fire, launching frequent attacks inside the territory.
Turkey has called for the cease-fire to be followed and warned that if the attacks do not stop, it will take action.
The de-escalation zone is currently home to about 4 million civilians, including hundreds of thousands displaced in recent years by the regime forces.