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Erdogan announces death of 59 Turkish soldiers during last month in Idlib

March 9, 2020 at 1:15 am

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan greets during a celebration of heroic women of Turkey as part of International Women’s Day, at Halic Congress Center in Istanbul, Turkey on 8 March 2020. [Serhat Çağdaş – Anadolu Agency]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that during the last month, 59 Turkish soldiers had been killed in Idlib, northwestern Syria, but he stressed that his country’s forces had neutralized, in response, 3400 soldiers of the Syrian regime’s army.

Erdogan added in a speech he delivered in Antakya that “the Syrian regime’s direction of all its forces towards Idlib at a time when one-third of its territories is under occupation by the YPG (Kurdish People’s Protection Units, which Ankara considers a terrorist organization) reveals other goals and objectives.”

Erdogan stressed that Turkey reserves its right to clear the surroundings of the area of ​​Operation Spring Shield in Idlib in its way, in case it finds no adherence to the promises made to it, under the recent ceasefire agreement, which the Turkish President has reached with his Russian counterpart in Moscow.

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“Our main goal is to create a suitable environment for the safe return of 3.6 million Syrians, who live on our lands, and 1.5 million Syrians existing in Idlib on our borders to their homes safely,” added the Turkish president.

Last Thursday, Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin reached a set of decisions for de-escalation in Idlib, Syria, including the declaration of a ceasefire in the region starting from midnight on 6 March, and the creation of a safe passageway in specific areas on the M4 highway.”