By Enes Kaplan
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey has put under fire all known targets of the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria with its air and ground fire support elements, the Turkish communications director said in the wee hours of Friday.
In a statement, Fahrettin Altun said a security summit meeting is ongoing at the presidential complex in Turkish capital Ankara.
“The summit stressed that the [Bashar-al] Assad regime is responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of Syrians, and agreed to retaliate against the illegitimate regime which has turned its barrel against our soldiers who are on duty to protect the rights and interests of the Republic of Turkey,” Altun said.
He noted that the summit is being held under the chair of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following the atrocious attack targeting the Turkish soldiers in Idlib, northwestern Syria.
He said Turkey will continue to put the known targets under fire.
“With this opportunity, we call on all international community, especially the parties of the Astana Process, to fulfill their responsibilities in order to stop the crimes of the regime committed against the humanity,” he added.
Altun also noted that what happened in Rwanda and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the past could not be repeated in Idlib.
“Blood of our heroes will not go in vain. Our activities in Syria will continue until hands reaching to our flag are broken,” he said.
Late Thursday, at least 29 Turkish soldiers were martyred in an airstrike by the Bashar al-Assad regime in Idlib, northwestern Syria.
Turkey, Russia, and Iran held meetings in Astana city of Kazakhstan in 2017 and announced that Idlib and neighboring cities, Eastern Ghouta region of capital Damascus and southern regions, namely Daraa and Quneitra cities, would be de-escalation zones.
In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone where acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
But more than 1,300 civilians have been killed in attacks by the regime and Russian forces in the de-escalation zone since then as the cease-fire continues to be violated.
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 some 3.7 million Syrians who fled their country, making it the world’s top refugee-hosting country.