Erdogan says Turkey will hit Syrian forces

Ankara: (Reuters) Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday his military would strike Syrian forces by air or ground anywhere in Syria if another Turkish soldier was hurt as the Syrian government fought to regain control of northwestern Idlib province from rebels.

Erdogan said Turkey was determined to push the Syrian troops beyond Turkish observation posts in Idlib by the end of this month and that Ankara would not allow insurgents in Idlib to give them an excuse to attack.

Turkey, which is allied with some rebel groups opposed to Assad, counter-attacked on Tuesday after 13 Turkish soldiers were killed by Syrian shelling in Idlib in the last 10 days.

“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 Idlib’s borders or the lines of the Sochi agreement,” Erdogan said, referring to a 2018 ceasefire accord.

“We will do this by any means necessary, by air or ground, without hesitating,” he told members of his AK Party in Ankara.

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