Turkish army artillery arrives in the east of Idlib, Syria, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. (AP Photo)
UPDATED 3:58 PM PT — Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Russia recently said a Turkish military operation against Syrian forces in the Idlib region would be a “worst-case scenario.” A Kremlin spokesperson said Russia has made its final warnings about an “imminent” Turkish attack in Syria.
The official said Moscow failed to deescalate tensions between the two countries. This came after Syria killed over a dozen Turkish troops in an operation to retake rebel held areas in its Idlib province.
Russia emphasized Turkey will likely retaliate soon.
“If it is about military operation against terrorist groups in Idlib, it would be in line with Sochi agreements,” stated spokesman Dmitry Peskov. “Neutralization of those terrorist groups, who currently possess powerful infrastructure, weaponry, hardware and ammunition, is a duty of the Turkish side.”
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he will give Syrian forces until the end of the month to withdraw from Idlib.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses to his ruling party’s legislator at parliament, in Ankara, Turkey, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
Meanwhile, the U.S. has expressed deep concern over Russia’s recent escalation of violence in eastern Ukraine. In a Wednesday tweet, a state department spokeswoman said the U.S. stands in solidarity with its allies in condemning Russian aggression against Ukraine.
She cited the administration’s support for President Zelensky and his commitment to peace in the region.
Officials have also called on Russia to abide by a ceasefire it signed under the Minsk Protocol. The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine spoke out against this week’s attack against the Ukrainian military in Donbass by Russian backed forces.
In this video grab provided by the RU-RTR Russian television, a woman stands next to her home, that was distroyed during cross fire between Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces, in Zaitseve, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. (RU-RTR Russian Television via AP)