U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has offered his condolences to Turkey following a Syrian army attack that killed five Turkish soldiers and wounded another five in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib on Feb. 10.
“My condolences to the families of the soldiers killed in yesterday’s attack in Idlib,” Pompeo said on Twitter on Feb. 11.
“The ongoing assaults by the Assad regime and Russia must stop. I’ve sent Jim Jeffrey to Ankara to coordinate steps to respond to this destabilizing attack. We stand by our NATO Ally #Turkey.”
Meanwhile, U.S. special envoy for Syria, James Jeffrey, arrived in Ankara on Feb. 11, where he is set to hold talks with senior Turkish officials on the Syrian army’s offensive in Idlib and other Syria-related issues.
Speaking to reporters at Ankara’s Esenboğa International Airport, Jeffrey said Turkey, as a NATO ally, encountered a great threat in Idlib coming from the Syrian army and Russia.
Jeffrey said he came to Ankara to re-evaluate the situation with the Turkish government, adding that the U.S. will give as much as possible support to Turkey.
He also extended condolences to the country for the five Turkish troops killed by the Syrian army attack a day earlier.
Meanwhile, Turkish Defense Ministry said on Feb. 11 that 51 Syrian soldiers were killed in northwest Syria as Turkish-backed rebels struck back against Russian-supported government forces who had made gains in their campaign to eliminate the last insurgent bastion in the country.
The Turkish Defense Ministry cited sources on the ground for the information, adding that two Syrian tanks and one ammunition store were destroyed as well.