The Syrian government on Wednesday described Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as “disconnected from reality” after he threatened to attack regime forces “everywhere” in Syria.
“The head of the Turkish regime comes with empty… statements only issued by a person disconnected from reality,” state news agency SANA quoted a source at the foreign ministry as saying.
The comments “only reveal ignorance in threatening to hit Syrian army troops,” the source said.
Russia-backed regime forces have since December upped their bombardment of the last major opposition bastion of Idlib in northwest Syria, where Ankara backs rebels.
Tensions between the two sides have soared since regime shelling on Monday last week killed eight Turkish soldiers, prompting a deadly response by the Turkish army.
Earlier on Wednesday, Erdogan threatened to strike Syrian regime forces “everywhere” if his soldiers were harmed.
“I hereby declare that we will strike regime forces everywhere from now on regardless of the Sochi deal if any tiny bit of harm is dealt to our soldiers at observation posts or elsewhere,” Erdogan told a meeting of his ruling party in parliament.
The assault on jihadist-run Idlib comes despite Ankara and Moscow striking a deal in the Russian town of Sochi in 2018 intended to avert an onslaught on the bastion of three million people.
Ankara said on Monday this week that five more of its troops were killed.
A regime helicopter was downed near a Turkish checkpoint in northwest Syria the following day. Ankara reported it but did not say who was behind the downing, which pro-government Syrian newspaper Al-Watan said killed three air crew.