Turkey to continue supporting 'oppressed' Syrians

– Turkish Defense Ministry says armed forces stand by Idlib citizens ‘who do not have links with terror groups’

By Muhammed Nuri Erdogan

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey will keep supporting oppressed people irrespective of geographical boundaries, including those in Idlib, Syria, who have no links to terror groups, the country's Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.

"The Turkish Armed Forces — key to peace in our region — stand by our brothers in Idlib with no links to terror groups, who suffer under the oppression of the Assad regime…," it said in a statement on its official Twitter account. "The Turkish nation will always support the oppressed."

The ministry, along with the statement, also uploaded photos of citizens in northwestern Syria, who struggle to survive in harsh weather conditions.

Idlib has been a stronghold of opposition and anti-government armed groups since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

Turkish troops are in Idlib as part of a 2018 cease-fire agreement between Ankara and Moscow. However, forces led by Bashar al-Assad continually violate the truce, resulting in both civilian and military casualties.

More than 1.5 million Syrians have moved toward the Turkish border due to intense attacks over the past year.

Turkey remains the country with the most refugees in the world, hosting over 3.7 million migrants since the start of the uprising that has so far claimed at least 400,000 lives.

* Writing by Fahri Aksut