Advertisement

Erdogan threatens action to enforce cease-fire

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, shown in November at the White House, said his country will use its military if needed to enforce a cease-fire in Idlib. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, shown in November at the White House, said his country will use its military if needed to enforce a cease-fire in Idlib. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo

March 11 (UPI) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday his country will not hesitate to use military action to enforce a cease-fire in ldlib in northwestern Syria meant to help slow the tidal wave of refugees crossing its border.

Erdogan told Turkey's Justice and Development Party parliamentary meeting in Ankara he expects Russia, which has been supporting the Syrian military, to keep its word to de-escalate fighting in the region.

Advertisement

"If the Syrian regime and Russia fail to keep their promises of a cease-fire, we will not hesitate to take the necessary steps against them," Erdogan said. "The security of Turkish observation points in the region is our biggest priority right now."

Turkey and Russia reached a new cease-fire agreement last week after talks between Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The deal included ending all military action in Idlib while establishing a 3.7-mile security corridor to the north and south of the M4 Highway.

RELATED EU foreign affairs chief says Greece-Turkey border is a 'closed door'

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Wednesday the finer details of the cease-fire were still being worked out.

"Currently, efforts are being made to make this temporary cease-fire permanent," Cavusoglu said.

Syrian forces had been shelling Idlib in an effort to root out the last remaining opposition forces in its long-running civil war, calling the group terrorists. That has led tens of thousands of refugees to flee Idlib into Turkey.

RELATED Russian airstrikes kill more than a dozen civilians in Syria

Turkey has now threatened to open its border across from Greece to allow the refugees into Europe if it does not receive some relief from the European Union and NATO.

Latest Headlines