Director of Communications Fahrettin Altun noted the following: “The Assad regime has been a menace to our national security, to the region and Europe since it has behaved like a criminal network engaging in terrorism against its own people. We do not have the luxury to stand idly by and those who ask to abandon Syrians should be ashamed.”
In a thread on his Twitter account, Altun recalled the national security meeting held under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan following the cowardly attack on Turkish troops.
Stating that Turkey had responded and would continue to respond to the illegitimate Assad regime responsible for this attack and the murder of hundreds of thousands of Syrians, Altun said the regime positions were targeted from the ground and the air.
Reiterating Turkey’s call on the parties of the Astana Process and the broader international community to honor their responsibilities, Altun continued as follows:
“A repeat of past genocides such as those in Rwanda and Bosnia cannot be allowed in Idlib. We will not leave the blood of our brave soldiers on the ground. Our operations in Syria will continue until we have those responsible for their martyrdom pay dearly. This murderous regime has refused to honor its commitments under the Astana process. Turkey has exercised its right of self-defense and abided by the international law in its operations aimed at preventing a humanitarian disaster in Idlib.”
Altun emphasized that the Assad regime was conducting ethnic cleansing and sought to drive millions of Syrians out of Idlib, and added: “These people will try to escape to Turkey and Europe. Already hosting close to 4 million refugees, we do not have the capacity and resources to allow entry to another million.”
“The regime has been pursuing demographic and ethnic cleansing in this region”
Indicating that the regime had taken advantage of the international silence in the face of its crimes for years, Altun said that abandoning Idlib to its fate would mean that the regime’s dreams would come true.
“They have been pursuing demographic and ethnic cleansing in this region. We cannot look the other way. Millions of civilians are being bombarded by air for months now. Infrastructure, including schools and hospitals, is being targeted by the regime systematically. A genocide is happening slowly before our eyes. Those with conscious and dignity must speak up.” Altun noted.
Altun stated that the international community must act to protect civilians and impose a no-fly-zone, and added:
“The guarantors of the Astana process, Russia and Iran, will lose all their credibility if they fail on their commitment to reduce violence and hostilities in Idlib. Turkey has been fighting terrorists in Syria in self-defense, honoring its commitments as part of its Astana and Sochi agreements, and helping the IDPs and refugees. Anyone who thinks that we will balk on our commitments and agreements are deeply mistaken. The Assad regime has been a menace to our national security, to the region and Europe since it has behaved like a criminal network engaging in terrorism against its own people. We do not have the luxury to stand idly by and those who ask to abandon Syrians should be ashamed.”