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Turkey will not move observation post in northwest Syria: minister

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Turkey will not move the military observation post in northwest Syria that a Turkish convoy was trying to reach when it came under attack during an offensive by the Syrian army, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

An airstrike on the military convoy on Monday killed three civilians as it was heading south towards the observation post, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said.

“Right now we don’t have any intention of moving this elsewhere,” Çavuşoğlu told reporters in Ankara. “It will carry on with its mission,” he said, adding that necessary security and military measures were being taken.

The observation post was one of 12 set up by Turkey in northwest Syria under an agreement with Russia and Iran aimed at reducing fighting in Syria’s northwest. Moscow and Tehran strongly support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, while Turkey backs some rebel fighters in the region.

Çavuşoğlu said Turkey was in contact with Russia “at every level” following Monday’s incident to implement a ceasefire in the Idlib region of northwest Syria.

“We will do whatever is necessary for the security of our own soldiers and observation posts,” he added.

Syrian government forces stepped up military operations in the area four months ago. The offensive has killed hundreds of people and forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee towards the Turkish border.

Turkey fears the fighting will trigger a further influx of Syrian refugees, 3.6 million of whom already live in Turkey.

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