Society 14:10 13/09/2018 World

Turkey reinforces military in Syria's Idlib

Turkey is reinforcing its military posts inside Syria’s rebel-held province of Idlib, Turkish and Syrian rebels sources say, seeking to deter a government offensive which it says would unleash a humanitarian disaster on its border, Reuters reports.

President Tayyip Erdogan has warned that an assault by the army and its Russian and Iran-backed allies on Idlib, home to around 3 million people, will uproot hundreds of thousands in one of Syria’s last rebel strongholds.

Already hosting 3.5 million Syrians - the world’s biggest refugee population - Turkey says it cannot absorb more victims of the war and has accused the West of abandoning it to face the consequences of President Bashar al-Assad’s reconquest of Syria.

At a meeting in Tehran on Friday with the presidents of Russia and Iran, seen as the last realistic chance to avert all-out conflict in the insurgent-held region, Erdogan failed to win a pledge of ceasefire from Assad’s two main backers.

But his Defence Minister Hulusi Akar says Turkey remains determined to halt the weeks-long air strikes on Idlib and forestall a ground offensive, while officials warn that Turkey would respond if its forces inside Idlib come under fire.

Three Turkish security and government officials told Reuters that troops, armored vehicles and equipment had been sent to the Syrian border. A senior security source said the army has reinforced 12 Turkish military posts inside Idlib itself.

“We have a military presence there and if that military presence is damaged or attacked in any way, it would be considered an attack on Turkey and would therefore receive the necessary retaliation,” the source said.



Source Panorama.am
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