Kremlin warns Turkey against an operation on Syrian troops

The Kremlin has reacted sharply to Erdoğan’s threat that a military operation against Syrian troops in Idlib is "imminent". Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned Turkey against an attack on Syrian troops.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has provoked a sharp reaction in Moscow with his announcement that "an offensive on Idlib is only a matter of time". Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov explained that a Turkish military operation against Syrian government troops would be the worst possible scenario.

Erdoğan had said the following at a party meeting of the AKP earlier today: "These are the last days in which the [Syrian] regime has the opportunity to withdraw. This is the last warning. An offensive on Idlib is only a matter of time. We will not leave Idlib to the regime and those who encourage it. As with any operation, we say we can come in suddenly one night. It's imminent. Whatever the cost, we are determined to make Idlib a safe haven for both Turkey and the people of the region."

In response, Kremlin spokesman Peskov said: "We shall not make an evaluation according to the worst-case scenario for now. If it is being talked about an operation against the terrorist organisations in Idlib, which currently have large quantities of weapons, equipment and ammunition at their disposal, this would be a step in the spirit of the Sochi Agreement. That is the responsibility of the Turkish side anyway. But if this is an operation against the legitimate Syrian Government, against the Syrian military, then this is the worst-case scenario.”

Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had stated that the meeting of the Russian and Turkish delegations on the "Idlib" topic in Moscow had been inconclusive.