Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said Syrian government forces need to halt attacks in northwestern Syria, Anadolu Agency reported on Friday.
The Syrian Army, backed by the Russian Air Force, launched ground operations this week at the southern flank of the militant-held demilitarized zone, which consists of Hama and parts of adjacent provinces.
Akar said the Syrian forces should return to territories agreed in an international deal in Kazakhstan to reduce hostilities and casualties.
“Humanitarian problems grow each day and it is increasingly showing a tendency to turn into a catastrophe,” he said.
Akar also said the attacks pose a threat to the security of Turkey’s observation posts in the northwest, where Turkey carries out patrols.
We expect Russia to take effective and determined measures to make regime forces stop their attacks on the south of Idlib and immediately return to the borders set by the Astana agreement,” Akar said, referring to the Kazakh capital.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that his nation’s armed forces were preparing to launch an operation to eliminate the “terrorist groups” in northern Syria.
The “terrorist groups” referred to by Erdogan are the Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Turkey claims they are both offshoots of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), who was involved in a long war against the Turkish Army in the 80s and 90s.