Syria does not want war with Turkey: foreign minister

Syria does not want war with Turkey, foreign minister says
2 min read
18 June, 2019
Syria's Foreign Minister Walid Muallem has said tried to cool tensions with Turkey, after a Turkish military post in Idlib was hit in shelling.
Muallem has been a public face of the Syrian regime [Getty]
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said on Tuesday his country is not want to fight Turkey, despite regime forces firing on a Turkish military post in Idlib last week.

"We hope that our military and the Turkish military do not fight. This is our principled stance," Muallem said, after meeting China's top diplomat, Wang Yi., according to Reuters

Despite this, he insisted that the Turkish military posts in Idlib are operating on Syrian territory and hinted that they are providing protection for rebel and Islamist groups in the opposition province.

"The question now is, what does Turkey want to do in Syria? Turkey is occupying part of Syrian soil, and has a military presence in certain parts of Syria," Muallem added.

"Are they protecting the Nusra Front? Are they protecting certain terrorist forces including the East Turkestan Islamic Movement?"

Muallem's comments follows warning from Turkey that will avenge future attacks on Turkish positions in Idlib.

Turkish troops are manning observation posts in the south of Idlib, where fierce fighting and airstrikes have taken place.

On Thursday, a Turkish military post was hit in regime shelling, injuring three troops, while another attack took place on Saturday, angering Ankara.

Turkey responded by shelling back at regime positions.

"Turkey won't tolerate Syrian regime harassment of its soldiers," Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey's foreign minister said on Monday. 

Idlib has gone under horrendous and intense bombardment by regime and Russian planes over the past month, with more than 400 killed.