The Turkish military launched Operation Spring Shield in Idlib in response to the Assad regime attack on Feb. 27, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on March 1.
The defense minister noted that the only goal of the operation is self-defense against the Assad regime soldiers and units that attack Turkish troops in the area.
The presidents of Turkey and Russia spoke by phone Friday to try to defuse tensions that rose significantly in Syria after 33 Turkish troops were killed in a Syrian government airstrike, and a new wave of refugees and migrants headed for the Greek border by land and sea after Turkey said it would no longer hold them back.
Turkey's Defense Minister Hulusi Akar had separate meetings with his British and French counterparts in Brussels on Feb. 13.
Akar visited NATO headquarters on the second day of NATO defense ministers meeting.
He met with U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace before attending a session on defense, deterrence and burden-sharing.