Turkey hits Syrian military targets after strikes kill 5 soldiers | News | DW | 10.02.2020
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Turkey hits Syrian military targets after strikes kill 5 soldiers

The government reported that Turkish forces had retaliated against Syria's military, "neutralizing" more than 100 soldiers. Earlier on Monday, five Turkish soldiers were killed in an attack by  Syria's military.

On Monday, the government reported that Turkish forces had bombarded five Syrian military positions in retaliation for the killing of five soldiers and wounding of five more in the northern Idlib province.

As part of an agreement with Russia, Turkey has 12 observation posts in Idlib to avert an offensive by Syrian government forces, which are trying to retake it from rebels, but Syrian troops have been slowly advancing in spite of this.

"According to our sources, 101 regime troops were neutralized, three tanks and two cannons were destroyed, and a helicopter was hit," Turkey's Defense Ministry reported in a statement.

Increased fighting

The escalation came as a delegation from Russia held further talks in Ankara to discuss the fighting in Idlib, which has uprooted more than 500,000 people in recent months.

In response, Turkey has sent hundreds of military vehicles and troops into Idlib province over the past week out of concerns that the fighting could send more refugees north, across the border. But Turkey's government has also been a fierce opponent of President Bashar Assad since Syria's civil war began.

Eight Turkish military and civilian personnel and 13 Syrian soldiers were killed in fighting last week. Turkey has warned Syria to retreat to the cease-fire lines that were agreed in 2018 as part of a fragile deal brokered by Ankara and Moscow that ultimately collapsed.

jsi/msh (AP, Reuters, AFP)

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