UrduPoint News / Sputnik -)

The United States supports Turkey’s military actions against the Syrian army in the Idlib province and views them as a response in self-defense, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Tuesday.

“We stand by our NATO ally Turkey in the aftermath of the attack, which resulted in the death of multiple Turkish personnel serving at an observation post used for coordination and de-escalation, and fully support Turkey’s justified self-defense actions in response,” Pompeo said.

On Monday, the Turkish Defense Ministry said five of its military personnel and one Turkish civilian had been killed in shelling by the Syrian army and pledged to take retaliatory action.

Pompeo blamed the Syrian army for the escalation of fighting in the Idlib province. He said the United States would do everything in its power to block any reintegration of the Syrian government in the international community until a nationwide ceasefire is implemented that incorporates Idlib.

In addition, Pompeo said Russia and Iran were to blame for the absence of truce in Syria’s northern provinces.

In an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta on Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that he has received information about the deployment of Turkish troops in the Idlib and the clashes with the Syrian army. Lavrov urged Turkey to comply with the existing agreements on Idlib and lamented its failure to dissociate the armed opposition from the terrorists there.

The area around the city of Idlib is one of four de-escalation zones created in Syria by Russia, Iran and Turkey during talks in May 2017. Idlib is the only de-escalation zone not under the control of the Syrian government, after members of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham terror group (formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra, banned in Russia) took over territories in the province.