As Turkey moved to defend itself after a deadly Assad regime attack on Turkish troops in northwestern Syria, 54 regime targets were hit and 76 regime soldiers neutralised, said Turkey's defense minister on Monday.  

Akar made the remarks after meeting with top commanders in a quickly organized trip to Turkey’s border with Syria in the wake of the Assad regime attack, which left six Turkish army personnel martyred and at least seven wounded in the Syrian province of Idlib.

The peace process for Syria which started under the agreements drawn up in Sochi, Russia last year and Astana, the former Kazakh capital, are still ongoing, Akar added.

Cease-fires were announced within the agreements but these were violated by the regime every time, and so the cease-fires never became lasting, he said.

"In this context, we continue our work and take additional measures to ensure the continuity of the cease-fires, to ensure the security of our troops, and to prevent migration and end the humanitarian drama in which people live in difficult terrain and climate conditions," Akar said.  

'Turkey told Russia where its troops would be'

He added that some Turkish troop deployments were planned and implemented to provide necessary support in the field.

The deployments were coordinated with Russia, which was given the necessary information in terms of both location and time, he said, rebuffing claims that Turkish troops were attacked Monday because Russia did not know their whereabouts.

Despite all the communication and information given out, Turkish troops were still fired on, he said.

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

The Syrian regime and its allies, however, have consistently broken the terms of the cease-fire – including a fresh cease-fire on Jan. 12 – launching frequent attacks inside the zone, killing at least 1,300 civilians since the agreement.

More than 1 million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to intense attacks over the past year, including tens of thousands last month alone.

Turkey remains the country with most refugees in the world, hosting more than 3.7 million migrants since the start of the civil war in Syria in 2011.  

Turkish presidency submits motion for Gulf of Aden

Turkey's presidency on Monday submitted a motion extending the Turkish forces’ deployment in the Gulf of Aden, Somalia, and the Arabian Sea.

The parliament will debate the motion on Tuesday that extends authorization of the deployment through Feb. 10, 2021.

Since it was first approved by parliament in 2008, the motion for the deployment has been extended 12 times.

The Gulf of Aden -- near Yemen and close to the world's fourth-biggest chokepoint for oil transit, the Bab el-Mandab strait -- is a strategic energy route for Middle Eastern crude oil.