MOSCOW, January 14. /TASS/. Turkey is ready to unilaterally put up resistance against Syrian government forces if they try to violate ceasefire in the Idlib province, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the parliament on Tuesday.
"It’s everyone’s responsibility that the regime [Syrian authorities - TASS] hindering the political process must refrain from actions leading to bloodshed. If necessary, we are ready to decisively counter the regime’s attempts to violate ceasefire in Idlib," Erdogan said in his speech broadcast by NTV channel.
According to Erdogan, over the past days Ankara and Moscow have held very intense talks, where an agreement on ceasefire in Idlib was reached. "Since there is no legitimate government in Syria, which would represent all people’s interests, we are carrying out this effort [on resolving the conflict in the country - TASS] jointly with Russia. I hope this ceasefire will be permanent," he said.
Erdogan noted that amid the Syrian regime’s attacks some 400,000 residents of the Idlib province were heading to Turkey. "I ask the international community when it will take the side of those oppressed. When will the United Nations start acting conscientiously? Despite our words nothing is being done," the Turkish leader said.
Turkey’s Ministry of National Defense reported on January 10 that Ankara and Moscow had agreed on the implementation of the ceasefire in the Idlib de-escalation zone in northern Syria from January 12. However, Head of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Sides in Syria Maj. Gen. Yuri Borenkov announced introducing ceasefire in the Idlib de-escalation zone from 14:00 Moscow Time on January 9. Erdogan noted that Ankara was ready to continue its military operation in northern Syria.
Idlib is the only Syrian region that is still controlled by illegal armed groups. A northern de-escalation zone was set up in Idlib in 2017 to give shelter to militants and their families who were reluctant to voluntarily surrender arms in Eastern Ghouta and in Syria’s southern regions. Twelve Turkish army’s observation points are operating in the Idlib governorate.