President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey is about to launch an new operation to  stop a Syrian army assault on opposition-held Idlib province. He warned that he was determined to transform the border area into a safe place “at any cost”.

On Tuesday, a Turkish presidential spokesman said talks between Turkish and Russian delegations in Moscow had not yielded a “satisfactory result”. A Russian proposal to “redraw” the de-escalation zone was not acceptable and it was “out of the question” for Turkey to move its observation posts, Ibrahim Kalin explained.

In a speech to lawmakers from his AK Party on Wednesday, Mr Erdogan warned: “We are entering the last days for the [Syrian] regime to stop its hostility in Idlib.”

“We are making our final warnings,” he said. “We did not reach the desired results in our talks [with Russia]. The talks will continue, but it is true that we are far from meeting our demands at the table.

“Turkey has made every preparation to carry out its own operational plans. I say that we can come at any point. In other words, the Idlib offensive is only a matter of time,” the president added.

As reported by a Kremlin spokesman responded quickly to the threat, saying: “If we are talking about an operation against the legitimate authorities of the Syrian republic and armed forces of the Syrian republic this would of course be the worst scenario.” But Dmitry Peskov added that Russia would not object if the Turkish military took action against the “terrorist groups in Idlib”, in line with the Sochi accord.