Syrian regime to pay heavy price: AK Party spox

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The "murderer regime" in Syria and those who encourage it will pay the heaviest price for their treachery, Turkey's ruling party spokesman said early Friday.

In a post on Twitter, Ömer Çelik, spokesman for the Justice and Development Party, extended his condolences to the families of the Turkish soldiers who were martyred in an airstrike by Bashar al-Assad regime forces in Idlib, northwestern Syria late Thursday.

At least 33 Turkish soldiers were martyred and tens of others injured in the attack.

Çelik wished a quick recovery to the injured.

He underlined that the heinous attack will meet with a response it deserves.

Çelik said Turkey is determined to continue its struggle in line with international law to achieve its targets.

When asked Turkey's next diplomatic steps, Çelik said a consultation process with the NATO military alliance would start early Friday.

"It must not be forgotten that the Turkish Armed Forces protect both Turkey's national security and the southern border of NATO. An attack directed towards Turkey means an attack on NATO," he said.

Also speaking on Turkish television, Çelik said Turkey's refugee policy has not changed, but Turkey will no longer be able to contain the refugees.

In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

But more than 1,300 civilians have been killed in attacks by the regime and Russian forces in the zone since then as the ceasefire continues to be violated.

The de-escalation zone is currently home to 4 million civilians, including hundreds of thousands displaced in recent years by regime forces throughout the war-torn country.

More than 1.7 million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to intense attacks.

Since the eruption of the bloody civil war in Syria in 2011, Turkey has taken in some 3.7 million Syrians who fled their country, making it the world's top refugee hosting country.

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