Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on March 4 that he asked US President Donald Trump for help with ammunition for fighting in the Syrian province of Idlib. He said this at a press conference, commenting on the statement of the US special representative for Syria, James Jeffrey. The latter said yesterday that Washington would be ready to provide Turkey with ammunition as a NATO ally.
Commenting on the progress of the military operation “Spring shield” in Idlib, Erdogan admitted that his country is suffering losses in this conflict, which, however, are “too small to compare them” with the losses of the Syrian side. According to Erdogan, ” Turkey knows how to fight, but does not seek war.”
Erdogan also shared with journalists his expectations for the upcoming talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to him, the priority will be a ceasefire in Idlib. “We haven’t had any offers from Russia yet. After the talks, we will hold a joint press conference with Putin. A group of journalists will also go to Russia with me, so there will be no secrets,” the Turkish head of state said.
After an airstrike by the Syrian government army on February 27 that killed more than 30 Turkish soldiers, a Reuters’ source at the US State Department said that Washington is ready to provide Turkey with additional intelligence and help with military equipment. The Agency’s interlocutor rejected the possibility of us military involvement in the conflict and said that Ankara did not request assistance in accordance with the Charter of the North Atlantic Treaty.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar reported on February 20 that the US had sent air defense batteries to Turkey. He also admitted that Turkey can get a patriot SAM.
The situation in Idlib escalated in January when Syrian opposition groups with the support of the Turkish army launched an offensive in the East of Idlib province. On January 27, Turkey launched an operation Spring shield. Ankara and Damascus began attacking each other’s positions. On the morning of March 4, 2 Turkish soldiers were killed in an attack by Assad’s forces in Idlib.