By Servet Gunerigok
WASHINGTON (AA) - The U.S. envoy to the UN offered condolences to Turkey and threw Washington's support behind Ankara on Friday after dozens of its troops were martyred by a Syrian regime attack.
"Turkey has our full support to respond in self-defense to unjustified attacks on Turkish observation posts" in Idlib province, Kelly Craft told a UN Security Council emergency meeting in New York.
He demanded Russia immediately ground its warplanes and Syrian regime forces and their Russian backers withdraw to cease-fire lines first established in the Sochi agreement.
"A permanent ceasefire is the answer for this conflict," she said.
Her remarks came a day after a deadly Syrian regime attack on Turkish forces claimed 33 lives. Another Turkish soldier was martyred and two were wounded Friday in Idlib, Turkey's Defense Ministry said.
- No military solution
German UN Ambassador Christoph Heusgen demanded Syria stop its military offensive and Russia stop support for the Syrian regime.
"There are no military solution, but a political solution," said the German envoy, urging Moscow and Assad regime to fully abide by their obligations under international law.
"We need humanitarian cease-fire and we are ready to work with Russia and Turkey," he said.
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.
The attacks on Turkish troops in Idlib have surged in recent weeks as the regime and its allies continue flouting the cease-fire.
Turkey has pledged 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 3.7 million Syrians who fled their country, making it the world’s top refugee hosting country.