Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said Ankara is still working with Russia and Iran to try to prevent a humanitarian tragedy in the case of a threatened Syrian regime offensive in the last opposition and rebel stronghold in the country.
Any military operation in Syria’s Idlib would drag a region rife with problems to disaster, Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Wednesday.
He added that Ankara is still trying with Russia and Iran to prevent a humanitarian tragedy in the case of a threatened Syrian regime offensive.
“Idlib is on the brink of a new crisis. Turkey is working with Russia, Iran and other allies to establish peace and stability in Syria and to stop the humanitarian tragedy,” Akar said.
He made the remarks during a meeting with foreign ambassadors.
They came amid a lull in a concerted regime and Russian aerial bombing campaign on the southern edge of Idlib.
Turkey has deployed hundreds of its soldiers to 12 observation posts that ring Idlib, following a de-escalation agreement reached with Russia and Iran last year to freeze the lines of the conflict, effectively placing Ankara as a protector of the province.
Located near the Turkish border, Idlib province is home to more than 3 million Syrians, many of whom fled from other cities following attacks by regime forces.
In recent weeks, regime forces have been massing to the south and southwest of the province, and in recent days launched an intense aerial bombing campaign targeting rebel positions, three medical centres and rescue workers said.
Turkey has appealed for a ceasefire in Idlib, and has appealed for international support for its efforts to halt an offensive by the regime and its allies.
The UN warned that such an offensive would lead to the "worst humanitarian catastrophe in the 21st century."
Opposition and rebels have held much of Idlib province since 2015 but a regime offensive captured chunks on the eastern flanks of the province last year before Turkey began deploying its observation points and halting the advances.