By Gozde Bayar
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey will stop Bashar al-Assad from killing and displacing more civilians in Syria if the regime continues its offensive, Turkish communications director said Thursday.
“If these attacks continue, we are moving forward with our plans to stop the regime from killing and displacing more people,” Fahrettin Altun said in a Twitter post.
“We have & will continue to respond,” he said, recalling that the regime attacked civilians and Turkish soldiers.
“If we exhaust all diplomatic and political avenues without a solution, we will not hesitate to implement other measure to stop this humanitarian catastrophe,” he said, adding that Turkey will not allow the regime to empty out Idlib.
He also called on responsible members of the international community to take immediate action.
In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which 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 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.