Middle East

Turkey Says Will Not Withdraw From Army Posts in Syria’s Idlib

Turkey’s defense minister said his forces will not withdraw from its observation posts in the Syrian terrorist-held province of Idlib which has seen an increase in operations carried out by government forces.

The posts were established under a September 2018 deal between Syria’s ally Moscow and Ankara, which backs the terrorists, to avert an all-out offensive in Idlib.

“We respect the agreement reached with Russia and we expect Russia to abide by this agreement,” Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said in comments published on Sunday on the defence ministry’s Twitter account.

“We will by no means empty those 12 observation posts, we will not leave there,” Akar said.

His comments came during a visit together with top army commanders to the southern province of Hatay on the Syrian border to inspect Turkish troops on Saturday.

Turkey, worried over a new wave of refugees from the Idlib region, is pressing for a fresh ceasefire deal, as it sent a delegation to Moscow on Monday.

Akar’s visit to soldiers on the border region comes as Turkey is also readying to send troops to support the UN-recognized government in Tripoli against strongman Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday said Ankara would respond to an invitation from the Libyan national unity government and Turkish parliament would vote on a motion to send troops as soon as it returns from recess as early as next month.

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