Turkey Launches Deadly Airstrikes Against Syrian Forces | World Defense

Turkey Launches Deadly Airstrikes Against Syrian Forces

mtime7

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Turkey Launches Deadly Airstrikes Against Syrian Forces
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that as many as 35 Syrian government troops had been killed, and he warned Russia against trying to prevent his country’s actions.



A Turkish military convoy on Sunday in Dana, a Syrian town in Idlib Province near the Turkish border.

A Turkish military convoy on Sunday in Dana, a Syrian town in Idlib Province near the Turkish border.Credit...Aaref Watad/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Carlotta Gall
By Carlotta Gall
  • Feb. 3, 2020Updated 10:08 a.m. ET

ISTANBUL — Turkey deployed F-16 fighter jets against government forces in northwestern Syria on Monday, a sharp escalation of the conflict there after six Turkish soldiers were killed by artillery strikes.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey said that as many as 35 Syrian troops had been “neutralized.” The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group based in Britain, said the number of military personnel killed was at least 13, while state news media in Syria made no mention of any deaths. There were also reports on social media of at least eight civilian deaths when a minibus was struck.
Mr. Erdogan warned Russia, which backs the Syrian government and which controls the airspace in western Syria, not to prevent Turkey from retaliating.
“It should be out of discussion to block us,” Mr. Erdogan said, before leaving for a trip to Ukraine. Describing the dead Turkish soldiers as martyrs, he added that, “It is not possible for us to keep silent” as long as his country’s troops were being targeted.

Mr. Erdogan has frequently met with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to discuss Syria, and in particular, the thorny problem of Idlib Province, which Moscow wants to bring under Syrian government control to declare victory in the war.

In a sign of the fragility of the relationship and of the high stakes, Mr. Erdogan adopted a sober demeanor as he announced the Turkish casualties, despite a dispute with Russia over whether the Turkish military’s moves had been coordinated with their Russian counterparts. Turkish reporters noted that Mr. Erdogan’s understated tone and remarks were free of the vitriolic rhetoric he often uses for opponents.

Syrian government forces have recently intensified their offensive in Idlib, in western Syria, the last rebel-held province. Turkey deployed several hundred troops to observation posts there in 2018, as part of an agreement with Russia to create a de-escalation zone in the area.

But Russian and Syrian forces have been conducting an offensive on the major highway through the province, prompting hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee north toward the border with Turkey.

Turkey has already taken in nearly four million people trying to escape the war, which started nearly nine years ago, and is concerned that the Syrian push into the area will create a fresh surge of refugees. It has closed its border with Syria to prevent more refugees from entering.


Nearly 700,000 people have been displaced since the Russian-led offensive began in Idlib last year — 140,000 in January alone. Many are camping in the open in increasingly desperate conditions.

The deployment of air power came after the Turkish Defense Ministry said that a supply convoy bringing reinforcements into the observation posts on Monday had come under fire, leaving six Turkish soldiers dead and several others wounded.

The movement of the convoy had been coordinated beforehand, the statement said, and Turkish forces retaliated immediately. “Those who test Turkey’s determination with such heinous attacks will understand they have made a huge mistake,’’ Mr. Erdogan said.

Moscow, however, disputed Turkey’s account about coordinating with other forces in the province, saying that the Russian Defense Ministry had not been told about the troop movements.

Syrian forces were trying to hit militants linked with Al Qaeda, the Russian Defense Ministry said, according to The Associated Press, and the Turkish forces were struck because they were in the area. (To justify their attacks, including ones that have killed many civilians, Russia and the Syrian government have consistently argued they must go on the offensive to eradicate terrorists.)

Turkey has always supported the opposition forces fighting against the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad, including some radical Islamists, and has sought to delay the Russian-Syrian advance to take Idlib.



Image
Syrians fleeing the advance of the government forces in Idlib Province on Thursday.

Syrians fleeing the advance of the government forces in Idlib Province on Thursday.Credit...Ghaith Alsayed/Associated Press
Mr. Erdogan has highlighted his good relationship with Mr. Putin and attempted to strengthen ties by purchasing the Russian S-400 missile defense system against the wishes of the United States and other NATO allies. But those links do not appear to have won him any lasting concessions from Moscow over Idlib.
The Turkish Defense Ministry said that it was maintaining suppressive fire on Syrian targets for self-defense to evacuate the dead and wounded. “The perpetrators of this hateful attack will be brought to account and our right to self-defense will be exercised in the most robust way,” the ministry said.
The suffering continued for the civilians caught in the fighting. At least eight people, most of them women and children, were said to have been killed on Monday when their minibus came under fire on a rural road. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that nine people had died in that attack, including four children.
Ahmad Aslan, who fled with his family from the town of Maaret al-Numan, said in a video message that he would have preferred death to abandoning his home. “We prayed many times to die from rockets or from barrel bombs there but it didn’t happen,” he said.
“After the regime advanced, we were forced to leave,” he added. “We have been living under the rain and cold, we lack shelter and food.”
Video distributed on social media showed people setting fire to their homes before fleeing the town of Saraqeb, ahead of the advancing Syrian forces. “We don’t want to leave anything behind for the thugs,” a voice in the background says.

Abdul Kareem Thalji, from Iss, a few miles from Saraqeb, said, “The regime is advancing and I’m racing with time to find a car and house to stay in.” He added that he was being displaced for the seventh time. “If you ask me about hope, I will tell you my entire ambition for life has collapsed, people here have lost hope.”

Hwaida Saad and Vivian Yee contributed reporting from Beirut, Lebanon.
 

Falcon29

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It seems like Arab regimes lost all interest in Syria after driving us crazy for 5 years about Iran destroying Syrians and telling us we need to move to help the Syrians and it is a bigger issue than Palestine. That was the original narrative their scholars/media were trying to establish.

Now they just backed off and some of them support Assad and/or Kurdish militias in Syria. And their scholars/media are changing their tune and commanding people to support their leaders and ignore any idea of revolution or protests in the region.

Seems like these 'Islamic' scholars just take orders from gov't to shape the population perspective. And it seems really close with US/Israeli foreign policy and other aims/objectives in the region. These 'scholars' have no place in preaching to people how to observe Islam or what positions they should take on local or regional matters.

Arabs need to be most proactive group in the region but they are passive and looking up to America as if it is God and have to consult with them before they make any changes in gov't or make a foreign policy decision. They seek support, success and put all their in hope in America rather than seeking help before God.
 

Scorpion

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Turkey strikes and Assad strikes back. 5 Turkish soldiers got killed so far not sure how many are wounded.
 

Scorpion

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Berke2

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Why are the turks being so timid? Do they really want millions of refugees fleeing into their country again? Okay they launched some air strikes which may have killed some regime soldiers but it's not exactly going to deter them.

The alawites and russians and the shia militas will just carry on. They constantly break treaties, at this moment exactly what are the Turks waiting for?
 
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mtime7

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I would imagine they are waiting for Putin's reaction, they poked him, wait and see if he cares
 

Gripen9

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Isn't it
Turkey strikes and Assad strikes back. 5 Turkish soldiers got killed so far not sure how many are wounded.
Isn't it the other way around. Turkey retaliated after Syrians killed Turkish military personnel.
 

UAE

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Isn't it

Isn't it the other way around. Turkey retaliated after Syrians killed Turkish military personnel.
Sorry to interrupt but where were those Turkish military personnel located exactly?
 

Gripen9

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Sorry to interrupt but where were those Turkish military personnel located exactly?
Northern Syria..... :p

Brother, Unlike you I am neither pro nor against Turkey in this unfortunate saga. I was just commenting on the report that said Turkish forces retaliated versus instigating the attack.
 

Falcon29

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Second incident:

5 Turkish troops killed in 'intense' Syrian army attack in Idlib

Ankara says army retaliated by destroying scores of Syrian army targets after attack on its forces in northwest Syria.

Five Turkish soldiers have been killed in an attack carried out by Syrian government forces in Syria's northwest, prompting Ankara to retaliate against dozens of Syrian army targets.

The Turkish defence ministry said Monday's shelling on a military base in Idlib province, the last rebel-held stronghold in the war-torn country, wounded a further five troops.

The "regime's intense artillery fire targeted our elements sent as reinforcement to the region with an aim to prevent clashes in Idlib, ensure our border security and stop migration and human tragedy", the ministry said.

The Turkish military retaliated by hitting 115 Syrian government targets, according to the ministry, which said it had "neutralised" 101 Syrian military personnel.

Its statement added that the response was carried out "under the rules of engagement and legitimate self-defence".

Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralised" in statements to imply that enemy elements have surrendered, are killed or have been captured.

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Falcon29

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Turkish forces are only factor preventing SAA/Russia/Iran push into Idlib. SAA/Russia/Iran are now challenging that equation by trying to intimidate Turkey into withdrawing.

These attacks will likely continue and Turkey can continue enforcing its red lines and considering other retaliatory measures. Or they can pull out and close their border to refugees. Idlib population would not be treated well by SAA and other pro-Iranian militias.

Coming weeks will reveal how this will develop.
 

Gripen9

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Turkey says it shot down Syrian helicopter
by Dylan Malyasov

12:52 (GMT+0000) February 12, 2020

in Aviation, News


Turkey says it shot down Syrian helicopter

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A Syrian military helicopter has been shot down by the Turkish F-16C fighter jet, according to several media reports.
Turkish media reports that President Erdogan personally ordered the attack on the Syrian helicopter. On his order, pilot of a Turkish Air Force F-16C fighter jet used AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range, Air-to-Air missile to shoot-down a Mi-17 utility helicopter of Syria Arab Air Force over Idlib yesterday.
It also added that the Turkish Air Force will shoot down more Syria Arab Air Force aircraft over Idlib if required.
The attack, which happened somewhere near Nerab in western Syria, comes after Syrian tyrant Bashar al-Assad’s forces killed five Turkish soldiers.
Ankara has retaliated with strikes on 115 government positions, according to Reuters.
Turkish military said 101 of the targets had been destroyed, including three tanks, two mortar positions and one helicopter.
The military helicopter was shot down south of Idlib city, where rebels supported by Turkish artillery were advancing near the town of Nairab in Idlib province to push back Russia-backed forces, Abdulah al-Shami, a commander in a coalition of mainstream rebel factions, told Reuters news agency.



Turkey says it shot down Syrian helicopter
 

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