February 3, 2020 / 2:41 PM / 24 days ago

Turkey says it will act against Syrian government if Russia cannot control them

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey will not hesitate to act against Syrian forces if Russia is unable to control them, Turkey’s communication director said on Monday, after Ankara said Syrian shelling killed five of its soldiers in the northwestern Idlib region.

President Tayyip Erdogan said earlier on Monday that Turkey will continue to retaliate, adding that Ankara had told Russia to “stand aside” in the conflict. Ankara backs rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whereas Moscow supports Assad’s forces.

“The Assad regime’s attack on our forces is the latest example of its cowardly actions in northern Syria,” Fahrettin Altun said on Twitter. “If Russia is unable to control the Assad regime from targeting us, we will not hesitate to take actions against any threat, just as we did today in Idlib,” he added.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Ece Toksabay; Editing by Dominic Evans

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