Friday, December 8, 2023

Turkey launches counterattack against Syrian forces

A picture taken from Turkish territory shows smoke rising from targets inside Syria during bombardment by Turkish forces at Ras al-Ein town, as seen from Ceylanpinar, in Sanliurfa, Turkey, 13 October 2019. Turkey has launched an offensive targeting Kurdish forces in north-eastern Syria, days after the US withdrew troops from the area.

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At least 13 Syrian soldiers were reportedly killed by Turkish forces in Syria’s Idlib region on Monday.
The attack that came in retaliation for an earlier strike by Syrian troops that killed 8 Turkish soldiers, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
After the death of Turkish soldiers, the country’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed that Turkey’s offensive in Idlib would continue: “We have responded in kind to these attacks and will continue to do so, whether it is with our artillery or mortars. We are determined to continue our operations for the security of our country, people and our brothers in Idlib. Those who question our determination will soon understand they made a mistake”, he said.
Russia, who is an ally of the Syrian president Bashar Assad’s regime, said it was not informed about the event: “Turkish troops were changing locations at night in the Idlib de-escalation zone without informing the Russian side”, Russia’s defense ministry said, adding that the Turkish troops “came under fire from Syrian government troops targeting terrorists in an area west of Saraqeb”.
However, a spokesman for Erdogan tweeted that “the statement that Russia was not informed is not correct. Turkey is providing regular and instant information to Russia”. Turkey opposes the Assad regime.
Erdogan also urged Russia to not stand in the way of Turkey’s response, and accused it of “not honouring” agreements to prevent a regime offensive on rebel-held Idlib.
Turkey has refused to leave 12 observation outposts in Idlib, saying they are recognized by the 2018 deal with Russia, which saw Turkish troops deploy at observation posts around Idlib. However, the Syrian regime views the outposts with hostility, and has previously surrounded one of them.

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