By Serife Cetin
BRUSSELS (AA) – NATO convened an extraordinary meeting Friday on Turkey's request after a late night attack in Idlib, Syria martyred 33 Turkish soldiers.
Thursday's attack by the Bashar al-Assad regime also injured tens of Turkish troops in the Idlib de-escalation zone, just across Turkey’s southern border.
“Today, the #NATO council meets at Turkey’s request to consult under Article 4 of NATO’s founding Washington Treaty on the situation in Syria,” NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said in a tweet.
Stoltenberg will hold a news conference after the meeting.
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.