Turkey demands UN stop Syria regime's 'war crimes'

By Servet Gunerigok

WASHINGTON (AA) – Turkey's UN envoy Feridun Sinirlioglu asked the world’s body Security Council on Friday to stop the Syrian regime's "war crime" in Syria.

Speaking at an emergency meeting on Idlib, Sinirlioglu warned the regime not to make the mistake of targeting Turkish troops directly.

"Turkey does not want war but Turkey will not hesitate to use force if its security is threatened," he said. "Any provocation or harassment will be retaliated by all means."

"It is time for this Council to say 'enough is enough.' The council has to stop regime's 'war crimes and its reckless behavior that pose threat to international peace and security," said Sinirlioglu.

The remarks came a day after a deadly Syrian regime attack on Turkish forces claimed 33 lives. Another Turkish soldier was martyred and two were wounded Friday in Idlib, Turkey's Defense Ministry said.

Sinirlioglu said Ankara has been "displaying utmost restraint" to avoid a direct military confrontation. "But this is a fight between right and wrong."

Turkey's is acting in Syria on behalf of international community to protect millions of Syrians, he added.

Sinirlioglu urged the international community not to remain indifferent to developments unfolding in Idlib. "Otherwise there will be repercussion of much wider scale across Europe, region and the beyond," he warned.

Turkish soldiers are working to protect local civilians under a September 2018 deal with Russia under which acts of aggression are prohibited in the region.

But More than 1,300 civilians have been killed in attacks by Assad and Russian forces in the zone since then, as the cease-fire continues to be violated.

The attacks on Turkish troops in Idlib have surged in recent weeks as the regime and its allies continue flouting the cease-fire.

Turkey has pledged that such assaults would not go unanswered.

The de-escalation zone is currently home to 4 million civilians, including hundreds of thousands displaced in recent years by regime forces throughout the war-torn country.

More than 1.7 million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to intense attacks.

Since the eruption of the bloody civil war in Syria in 2011, Turkey has taken in 3.7 million Syrians who fled their country, making it the world’s top refugee hosting country.