Turkey showed it has Plan B in Syria: Minister
Fatih Çekirge - ANKARA
Turkey has made alternative plans for northwestern Syria’s Idlib province if the deal made with Russia for maintaining the cease-fire in the province continues to be violated, and Ankara has conveyed this message several times to its partners, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said.
“Our main goal is to prevent migration and humanitarian tragedy. For this, we try to provide a cease-fire and stop the bloodshed. We say, ‘Adhere to this agreement’. We have checkpoints there. There is the Adana Agreement and there is a Sochi consensus with Russia. We say that this cannot be continued like this,” Akar told the daily Hürriyet.
“We comply with international law and agreements. We are resolutely expressing our legitimate demands. But if reconciliation continues to be violated, we have plans B and C too. At every opportunity, we say, ‘Do not force us. Otherwise, our B and C plans are ready,” the daily quoted Akar as saying on Feb. 9.
Asked about these plans B and C, the minister recalled that Turkey earlier asked its strategic partners multiple times to carry out a joint anti-terror operation to clear terrorists of the region.
“We told them otherwise we had a plan B and C,” he said, adding that Turkey carried out ‘Operation Euphrates Shield’ only a month after the coup attempt in 2016, as its partners failed to meet the proposal by Ankara.
Ankara launched operations “Olive Branch” and “Peace Spring” as well with the same determination, he emphasized.
He pointed at the fact that regime forces attack innocent people, including the elderly, women and children. Over a million people were forced to flee toward the Turkish border in the past year, he said.
“Turkey will keep its observation points in Idlib within the framework of the agreement and in this context; it will continue reinforcements,” the minister stated. “Our authorized colleagues there are coordinating their supply by negotiating with their Russian counterparts. Despite this, if there is blocking, we express it very clearly, we will do whatever is necessary,” Akar said.
Meanwhile, Turkey reinforces its forces in the region as many vehicles in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) inventory were sent to the observation points in Idlib from Reyhanlı district of the southern border province of Hatay on Feb. 9 including howitzers, armored personnel carriers and ammunition, and commando deployment has been completed for the observation points in the region, news agencies have reported.