By Tevfik Durul
ANKARA, Turkey / DOHA, Qatar (AA) - The Syrian regime's aggression in the country’s northwestern Idlib province must be immediately stopped, Turkish Foreign Minister said on Saturday.
"The regime's aggression must be stopped immediately. We have 34 martyrs after the regime's treacherous attack. These attacks will not deter us from our determination. This determination has become stronger," Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Qatar's capital city of Doha.
Cavusoglu stressed that Turkey has given "the necessary response", referring to the Turkish strikes on the Bashar-al Assad regime elements following Thursday’s deadly attack on Turkish troops in the Idlib de-escalation zone.
"The blood of our martyrs was not left on the ground, and it will not be left," he added.
At least 34 Turkish soldiers were martyred and several more injured in an airstrike by Assad regime forces in Idlib on Thursday night.
The Turkish soldiers are working to protect local civilians under a September 2018 deal with Russia, which prohibits acts of aggression in the Idlib de-escalation zone.
But more than 1,300 civilians have been killed in attacks by Assad and Russian forces in the zone since then, as the cease-fire continues to be violated.
Thursday’s attack was one of a series since January on Turkish troops, with Turkish officials keeping their pledge that such assaults would not go unanswered.
The de-escalation zone is currently home to four 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 Syria conflict in 2011, Turkey has taken in some 3.7 million Syrians who fled their country, making it the world’s top refugee-hosting country.