By Emin Avundukluoglu
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey will hit back hard at any attacks on its forces, Turkey’s parliament speaker said on Friday in the wake of a deadly Assad regime attack on Turkish soldiers.
"While attempts in the diplomatic and international areas will continue, attacks targeting our country in the field will meet the harshest response," Mustafa Sentop said in a statement.
"Whatever calculations are made in any corner of the world, Turkey is not a country that will stand silent in the face of any attack or base attempt," he added.
Turkey is a unique haven of peace, tranquility, and security in its region, he said.
"But whatever power or alliance stands against it, Turkey will repay any attacks against it," he vowed.
Late Thursday, at least 33 Turkish soldiers were martyred and dozens of others injured in an airstrike by Assad regime forces in the Idlib, Syria de-escalation zone, just across Turkey’s southern border.
The Turkish soldiers are working to protect local civilians under a September 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 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 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.