Speaking on 5 February 2020 before members of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said:

"Any ground or air attack against our troops or the friendly elements with whom we work will be met with a response without any warning regardless of its origin. No one can object to our exercising our right to do so given the inability to guarantee the security of our troops in Idlib."

Turkey, whose army invaded northern Syria, had four Russian FSB officers killed in Aleppo by "friendly elements" on 1 February and engaged in a deadly clash on 2 and 3 February with the Syrian army in Idlib. It received support from the United States on 4 February, the day the Turkish President revved up provocations against Russia in Ukraine.

President Erdoğan designates as "friendly elements" both the Turkmen militia linked to the Gray Wolves and the Al-Qaeda jihadists.