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Turkey will strike Syrian forces if Turkish soldiers are hurt: Erdogan

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on February 12, 2020 - Duration: 01:31s

Turkey will strike Syrian forces if Turkish soldiers are hurt: Erdogan

Turkey's military will set aside past ceasefire agreements to strike Syrian government forces by air or ground anywhere in Syria if another Turkish soldier is hurt, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said.

Joe Davies reports.

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Turkey will strike Syrian forces if Turkish soldiers are hurt: Erdogan

Another convoy of Turkish military vehicles made its way towards the Syrian border on Wednesday (February 12).

The latest movements came a day after Turkey launched counter-attacks said to have killed 51 Syrian government troops; retaliation for 13 Turkish soldiers killed by Syrian shelling in recent days.

Turkey's President Erdogan is warning that attacks by Syrian government forces on his military will be met with the same overwhelming response.

(SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH PRESIDENT, TAYYIP ERDOGAN, SAYING: "If there is the smallest injury to our soldiers on the observation posts or other places, I am declaring from here that we will hit the regime forces everywhere from today, regardless of the lines of the Sochi agreement or Idlib." According to rebel commanders, a Syrian military helicopter was shot down on Tuesday (February 11) in the province of Idlib.

Syrian government forces backed by Russia and Iran have been making gains there in their campaign to eliminate the last insurgent bastion in Syria's nine-year-old war.

Turkey is allied with some rebel groups opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Russia, a close ally of the Syrian government, hashed out a deal with Turkey two years ago to create a de-militarised zone in Idlib.

But the Turkish military casualties have sparked some of the most serious confrontations between Ankara and Damascus in the war to date.

In the last 10 weeks alone, the fighting has driven nearly 700,000 people from their homes.

And it's strained ties between Moscow and Ankara, which says it cannot handle another wave of refugees.

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