BERLIN (AA) - Germany on Friday condemned Assad regime's attack on Turkish soldiers stationed in northwestern Idlib province of Syria to protect the civilian population and fight terrorist groups.
Speaking at a news conference in Berlin, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said the German government was gravely concerned over the recent military escalation in northwestern Syria.
“We condemn the attacks on Turkish military positions which resulted in the death of more than 30 Turkish soldiers and wounded many others,” Seibert said.
He demanded an end to the regime's military offensive, and underlined that an immediate cease-fire was needed to stop the suffering of hundreds of thousands of civilians, and to pave the way for political talks for a peaceful solution to the conflict.
Seibert renewed Merkel's and French President Emmanuel Macron’s joint call on Russian President Vladimir Putin to hold a quartet meeting together with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss current tensions in northwestern Syria.
“The chancellor has already expressed readiness for such a quartet meeting together with President Macron and President Erdogan,” he said.
“Now it’s up to Russia to accept this offer. This has not been the case so far. But this offer remains on the table,” Seibert added.
Thursday's attack by the Bashar al-Assad regime martyred 33 Turkish soldiers, and injured tens of others in the Idlib de-escalation zone, just across Turkey’s southern border.
The Turkish soldiers are working to protect local civilians in Idlib under a 2018 deal with Russia under which acts of aggression are prohibited in the region.
But more than 1,300 civilians have been killed in attacks by the regime and Russian forces in the zone since then, as the cease-fire continues to be violated.
The de-escalation zone is currently home to 4 million civilians, including hundreds of thousands displaced in recent years by regime forces throughout the war-torn country.
More than 1.7 million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to intense attacks.
Since the eruption of the bloody civil war in Syria in 2011, Turkey has taken in some 3.7 million Syrians who fled their country, making it the world’s top refugee hosting country.