Syrian Offensive Irks Erdogan, Who Threatens Action
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned on Friday that unless calm is restored to Syria’s Idlib Province, the scene of a government push to uproot some of the last rebels in a long civil war, Ankara could send in troops. Hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians have been forced to flee the offensive, which began last month, with many heading to the Turkish border. Turkey already is a reluctant host to some 3.6 million Syrian refugees and wants no more. It also maintains eight military observation posts in the province that were place there to monitor the fighting as well as refugee movements. “We will do what is necessary when someone is threatening our soil,” Erdogan said in Ankara on Friday. “We will have no choice but to resort to the same path again if the situation in Idlib is not returned to normal quickly.” Turkish troops are also present in a border enclave to the east of Idlib, having entered late last year to push away Kurdish rebels Ankara accuses of assisting Turkish Kurds agitating for autonomy.