Turkey’s new military operation in the Syrian province of Idlib is only a matter of time, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, addressing the members of his party in the country’s parliament on Wednesday.
"Turkey has completed preparations for the implementation of its plan on Idlib, just like we did with previous operations. Frankly speaking, an operation in Idlib is only a matter of time. Turkey won’t leave Idlib to the devices of the [Assad] regime," Erdogan pointed out, TASS reports.
According to the Turkish leader, "despite ongoing talks on Idlib, Turkey and Russia are still far from reaching an agreement" on the issue. He added that the Ankara and Moscow negotiations "have not produced the desired results yet."
Erdogan emphasized that Ankara "is determined to pay any price to ensure security in both Idlib and Turkey."
For the past several weeks, Ankara has been demanding that the Syrian army return to the positions outlined in the Sochi memorandum on Idlib. Erdogan has threatened to take steps to push Syrian troops back.
The situation in the Syrian province of Idlib escalated after the Russian and Turkish militaries had made another attempt to ensure a ceasefire. In response, terrorists increased attacks, killing both Russian and Turkish military experts. The Syrian army took action against extremists, seizing the town of Saraqib on February 5.
On the morning of February 11, Syrian opposition forces supported by Turkey launched large-scale attacks on Syrian government troops, particularly on Saraqib and the Nayrab settlement. The fighting also involved supporters of the Jabhat al-Nusra terror group (outlawed in Russia). Syrian troops thwarted the attacks, while militants suffered substantial losses.