Erdogan Threatens Military Escalation in Syria

Wednesday, 12 February 2020 18:37 WIB



Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is threatening to escalate fighting against Syrian government forces following Monday's killing of Turkish soldiers. The warning comes in the face of calls for restraint from Moscow, but Erdogan is facing growing domestic pressure for an uncompromising stance.

"We have given the necessary response and retaliated in kind, but this is not enough," Erdogan said Tuesday. The Turkish military claimed to have hit more than 100 targets of Damascus forces Monday. 

The strikes were in response to the killing of five Turkish soldiers by artillery from Syrian forces in Idlib province. 

Erdogan said Tuesday he would announce what new military steps he will take. He met Monday with his military commanders to discuss the Syrian situation. 

In the space of a week, 12 Turkish soldiers have been killed by regime forces in Idlib. The Turkish president is facing growing domestic pressure to hit back.

Analysts point out Bahceli's party is increasingly making inroads into Erdogan's AKP nationalist voter base. "The basis of [Turkish] foreign relations needs to be viewed through the prism of domestic policy," said analyst Sezer Aydin.

Erdogan appears to be leaving all options on the table with the Turkish army continuing to ramp up its deployment into Idlib.

Ankara set up 12 military observation posts across Idlib as part of the 2018 agreement with Moscow to create a de-escalation zone aimed at ending fighting between Syrian government and rebel forces. 

While Moscow backs Damascus and Ankara backs the rebels, the two countries have been cooperating to end the civil war. But the escalating violence in Idlib is putting increasing pressure on that cooperation.

Tuesday, Moscow called on Ankara to end its military operations against Damascus and to enforce the 2018 deescalation agreement in Idlib. Russian diplomats accuse Turkish military forces of failing to disarm groups designated as terrorists in Idlib, a charge Ankara denies.

Souce : VOA


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