Syrian regime prepping to attack civilians, pin blame on Turkey

Turkey backs some rebel groups in Idlib and has lost 16 military personnel this month in clashes with Syrian forcesMore

Turkey backs some rebel groups in Idlib and has lost 16 military personnel this month in clashes with Syrian forcesMore

Erdogan earlier threatened to use force by the end of February if Syrian forces don't withdraw from the vicinity of four Turkish military outposts or stage a new attack on Turkish forces, who suffered 14 dead earlier this month.

Media captionSyria War: Why is Idlib back in the news?

Following the deaths of the Turkish soldiers in Idlib, the country's president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, warned the Assad regime of heavy consequences if the Syrian army continued to shell Turkish troops there.

The forces of Syrian President Bashar el Assad have the support of Russian Federation.

After Russia accused Turkey of failing to "neutralise terrorists" in Idlib, Mr Erdogan dismissed this claim and said Turkish forces would fight against any terrorist. Some of the city's residents fled to reach the safer zones on the Turkish-Syrian border.

Near the capital Damascus, Syrian authorities said Monday that they'd exhumed the previous day almost 70 bodies of soldiers and civilians from a mass grave in a rural area of eastern Ghouta. On Twitter, he wrote: "The blood of our martyrs won't be left unaccounted for". The Turkish Anadolu agency said the fighters destroyed a Syrian tank and armored personnel carrier and seized a second tank.

Russian Federation and Turkey back opposing sides in the nine-year-old conflict.

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The opening of these highway connections for trade is the (predetermined) official goal of a Syrian-Russian offensive, which has been underway since April 2019 with incessant artillery fire and bombardment of parts of the rebel territory, unleashing streams of refugees and leaving behind a lot of depopulated ruined cities before Syrian ground troops started their conquest.

The UN said on Thursday an estimated 170,000 of the 900,000 civilians forced from their homes are living out in the open.

The Syrian government offensive has caused problems between Turkey and Russian Federation, which support opposing sides in the war.

"The talks will continue, but it is true that we are far from meeting our demands at the table", Erdogan said.

Ankara and Moscow have accused each other of flouting a 2018 de-escalation agreement that allowed Turkey and Russian Federation to set up observation posts in Idlib.

"We are entering the last days for the (Syrian) regime to stop its hostility in Idlib".

Turkish officials sounded more optimistic on Thursday and one said the latest round had not been "completely without a result".

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Akar said Turkey had no intention to come "head to head with Russian Federation", insisting that Turkey's aim was to ensure that the Syrian government abides by the cease-fire agreement for the province. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in 2018 affirmed welcoming refugees "who all live [in Egypt] like Egyptians, without discrimination between us and them". Our country faces a missile threat.

About half the region's population had already fled other parts of Syria, and displacement refugee camps are full.

"We are burning through our supplies much faster than anticipated. Health facilities, schools, residential areas, mosques and markets have been hit", the United Nations head of humanitarian affairs and emergency relief, Mark Lowcock, said earlier this week.

Syrian state TV reported that government forces have repelled the attacks on Nairab.

Syrian opposition activists, meanwhile, reported airstrikes on several rebel-held areas Tuesday, including the outskirts of the town of Atareb and Daret Azzeh.

Although Russia and Turkey support opposing sides in the conflict, the offensive has strained cooperation between Moscow and Ankara and led to direct clashes between Syrian and Turkish troops.

Even if it kills "1,000 people, the rest will save their lives and cross the border and be in safety", al Khateeb said.

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"If we are talking about an operation against the legitimate authorities of the Syrian republic and armed forces of the Syrian republic, this would of course be the worst scenario", he told reporters.

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