‘Turkey will use force if Idlib cease-fire violated’

Turkey is prepared to "use force against those who violate the cease-fire" recently enforced in Idlib, northwestern Syria, a security source said on Monday.

Turkey and Russia announced a cease-fire that came into effect at midnight last Thursday, following days of clashes between the Turkish military and Syrian regime forces.

The agreement came after a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow last week.

“The cease-fire aims to halt regime attacks that endanger the safety of Turkey and the region, and pose the risk of causing an even graver humanitarian crisis in Idlib,” said the security source, who requested anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

Turkey’s primary goal in Syria is to establish a permanent cease-fire, end the bloodbath, and create an environment for the safe return of the displaced population, the source added.

“This is why the Turkish Armed Forces are giving maximum attention to implementation of all points of the cease-fire agreement, and are acting accordingly in the field,” said the source.

Stressing that there have not been any violations from the Turkish side, the security source asserted that the Turkish Armed Forces “are ready to use force against those who violate the cease-fire”.

“We are aware of the regime's attempts to violate the cease-fire; we are monitoring them closely. As the guarantor country, we expect Russia to ensure that the regime fully complies with the points specified in the agreement.”

As part of the agreement, all military activities will end in Idlib and a security corridor will be established six kilometers (3.7 miles) deep to the north and to the south from the M4 highway.

The highway, also known as the Aleppo-Al Hasakah road, is about 30 kilometers (19 miles) from Turkey's border.

Joint Turkish-Russian patrols along the M4 highway will also begin on March 15, from the settlement of Trumba -- two kilometers (1.2 miles) to the west of Saraqib -- to the settlement of Ain al-Havr.

Source: Anadolu Agency