The Turkish Defense Ministry on Friday threatened to respond to any attack against Turkish observation posts in Syria’s northwest Idlib region, where it claimed at least three posts are being surrounded by the Syrian government forces.
The 7th, 8th and 9th observation posts of the Turkish military in the region are under the Syrian government’s control, military sources told semi-official Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity.
“Our troops are ready to respond to any attacks within the context of self-defense,” said the sources, adding troops in these posts are capable of protecting themselves.
The priority of Turkish troops in Idlib is to halt the attacks and ensure the cease-fire, they noted.
A recent attack by the Russian-backed Syrian government forces in Idlib has killed seven Turkish troops and a serviceman and wounded 13 others, raising tensions between Ankara and Moscow.
Turkish and Syrian troops exchanged fire following the attack, and the Turkish leadership urged the Syrian forces to retreat from these posts by the end of February.
Syrian forces, backed by Russian air forces, have advanced rapidly since last week.
Turkey has 12 military observation posts around Idlib Province. They were established under a 2017 deal with Russia and Iran in order to reach a cease-fire in the last Syrian rebel stronghold.