Syrian Turkmens urge for protection of Latakia region

By Adham Kako

ANKARA (AA) – The Syrian Turkmen Assembly (STA) on Sunday called for the protection of Syria’s Turkmen Mountain area, which the Bashar al-Assad regime and its supporters have been striking intensively recently.

In a statement, the STA said: “Although the three countries of Russia, Turkey and Iran reached a cease-fire agreement in these areas during the 10th guarantors’ meeting held in Sochi, the developments continue in a disturbing manner in Bayirbucak [a region in northern Syria that borders Turkey].”

“Any attack carried out by the regime and its allies on the region would pose a great danger not only to the areas of the Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch, but also to the national security of Turkey,” the statement said.

The STA said necessary measures must be taken in the region immediately.

“Turkey is the only guarantor in this regard. The Turkmen identity of the Bayirbucak region must be preserved to maintain its true identity forever,” it added.

Artillery units of the regime forces on Friday night carried out intense attacks to the opposition’s frontline to seize the Turkmen Mountain region.

The Turkmen Mountains in northwestern Syria’s Latakia falls within a network of de-escalation zones.

In 2015, the regime — backed by Russian air power — captured some 85 percent of Latakia’s Turkmen Mountain region, forcing some 20,000 of the area’s Turkmen and Arab inhabitants to flee northward to Turkey.

Under an earlier agreement endorsed by Turkey, Russia and Iran, Turkmen Mountain falls within a network of de-escalation zones in which acts of aggression are expressly forbidden.