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Syria urges immediate withdrawal of Turkish troops from northern regions

The file photo shows Turkish troops standing next to an armored vehicle in Syria's northwestern Idlib Province. (Photo by AFP)

Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad has reiterated Syria’s calls for Turkey to immediately withdraw its forces from the northern regions of the Arab country.

“Turkey should withdraw its troops immediately. The international community, in turn, should support Syrian efforts to liberate the territories it has occupied in the north of the country,” RIA Novosti quoted Mikdad as saying on Thursday.

He added that “the Turkish occupation, as well as the support that Turkey provides to terrorist groups on the ground” is the main reason for the aggravation of the security situation and the recent escalation of tensions in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, which borders Turkey.

Ankara-backed militants were deployed to northeastern Syria in October 2019 after Turkish military forces launched a cross-border invasion in a declared attempt to push fighters of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) away from border areas.

Ankara views the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.

The Kurdish-led administration in northeastern Syria says the Turkish offensive has killed hundreds of civilians, including dozens of children since it started.

Turkey has played a major role in supporting terrorists in Syria ever since a major foreign-backed insurgency overtook the country more than ten years ago.

Government troops have gradually gained control over most of Syria. But Turkey has increasingly sought to enlist the militants in its operations against Kurds in northern Syria.

Turkey has reportedly sent more troops to northwestern Syria in a move to increase control over the situation in Idlib.

An unnamed official source in the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates on Monday strongly condemned the Turkish military’s ongoing operations in the northern part of the country, stressing that the offensives are in blatant violation of the Arab nation’s sovereignty and independence.

The source added that the operations are in line with the hostile policies that Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has been practicing against Syria ever since the latter was embroiled in foreign-sponsored militancy, Syria’s official news agency SANA reported.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Mikdad pointed to the deterioration of Syria’s economic situation due to US sanctions, which he said are suppressing the Syrian people.

The top Syrian diplomat called on the international community to provide the country with more aid.

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