Josep Borrell, the EU's foreign policy chief, has pleaded for migrants in Turkey not to go to the Greek border or try to breach it, saying the frontier was closed and that any encouragement to do by Turkish authorities was a "game" that had to stop. “If we want to avoid critical situations, we have to know the truth. Let’s stop this game,” he said.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that Turkey has the full right to defend itself in Syria. "We believe firmly that our NATO partner Turkey has the full right to defend itself against the risk that’s being created by what [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad, the Russians and the Iranians are doing inside of Syria," Pompeo said on March 5.
Murat Yetkin writes: It is a cliché to say “a photo tells a thousand words” but it is true most of the time. Does this photo taken when the doors opened after talks between Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian host Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin tell anything positive and promising to you? Erdoğan will have to find a way to normalize relations with his European and American allies, considering that it can no longer rely on a permanent relationship with Russia.
Only 30.7 percent of Turks see the Turkish military presence in Syria's Idlib as a "necessity," according to recent survey. Asked if the presence of Turkish military in Idlib is a “necessity,” 30.7 percent of the survey participants said “Yes,” while 48.8 percent said “No” and 20.5 percent chose the option of “I do not have an opinion/No answer.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin later today in Moscow. Erdoğan hopes his visit to Moscow will yield an immediate ceasefire in Syria's Idlib, said Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın. "We have broad relations and we're hopeful as we go to (Russia)," Kalın said.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said that he considers Turkish people to be a brotherly nation for the Syrians. The Syrian leader also said that the feud between Syria and Turkey is "illogical," stressing that Damascus had not attacked Turkey and that both states have common interests.
President Erdoğan has responded to criticism on laughing during a speech he made on the deaths of over 30 Turkish soldiers, saying that it constitutes "a diabolic campaign." During his meeting with a group of Istanbul lawmakers of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the footage of his speech was screened. "The whole conversation was ironic," Erdoğan said.
Two more Turkish soldiers were killed by government forces in northwest Syria, the defense ministry said on March 4. NATO member Turkey has seen 59 troops killed in Idlib since the beginning of February. The latest casualties included six wounded, the defense ministry said, adding it retaliated and struck Syrian targets.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told fellow conservative lawmakers that she is in favour of setting up safety zones in northern Syria, two participants at the meeting told Reuters on March 3. Similarly, German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told German news agency DPA that the European states should take stronger responsibility to de-escalate tensions and pave the way for a political solution to the conflict in Syria.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov has accused Turkey of violating international law in Syria's Idlib, as tensions in the province continue to rise. "No one in the West notices the actions of the Turkish side which has already transferred to Syria's Idlib forces as large as a mechanized division in order to 'implement the Sochi agreements at any cost,'" TASS cited Konashenkov as saying.
Russian Defense Ministry has accused Turkey of trying to push 130,000 refugees from Syria into Greece. The two thirds of these refugees - that Turkey is pushing from temporary camps in Syria - are Afghans, Iraqis and Africans, not Syrians, it said.
Turkey’s Defense Ministry said late on March 3 that one Turkish soldier was killed and nine others wounded in Syria's Idlib region. With the latest death, 57 Turkish soldiers have been killed in the conflict in the region.
The United States is willing to provide ammunition to Turkey for Syria's Idlib, James Jeffrey, U.S. Special Envoy for Syria said on March 3. "We will make sure that equipment is ready and usable," Jeffrey told reporters. U.S. Ambassador to Turkey David Satterfield said on the same day that the U.S. is examining Turkey's request for air defenses.
Turkish Defense Industries President İsmail Demir has said that HİSAR air defense systems will be operational in a week. "HİSAR-A and HİSAR-O systems will be operational within a week during our [Idlib] operation. It will add another dimension to our air defense," Demir said. While, HİSAR-A is a low altitude air defense system, HİSAR-O is a medium range air defense system.
Turkish Defense Ministry has said that Turkey downed a Syrian L-39 type warplane in Idlib. On March 1, Turkey downed two Syrian jets in Idlib. The Syrian military closed the airspace over the province, warning that it would treat any violators as hostile targets and shoot them down.