Turkey’s army shot down two Syrian government fighter jets over northwest Idlib, hours after forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad introduced down a Turkish drone over the region.
In a Twitter post on Sunday, Turkey’s defence ministry stated its forces struck two SU-24 aircraft in response to the downing of the drone.
Other details: HLJ’s CDC told us the Feb. 8 deduction of 13 asym cases was actually *reverting back* to national policy of keeping asym numbers private, after it was briefly ordered to include them in “confirmed.” Policy to keep them separate was in place no later than Jan 28.
— Dave Yin 殷大伟 (@yindavid) March 2, 2020
Syria’s SANA news organization tested the plane were hit over northwestern Idlib province, however said no one was hurt in the attack. The pilots used parachutes and landed safely, it added.
The shootdowns got here as Turkey announced a full-scale military operation dubbed “Spring Shield” against Syrian targets.
The Syrian military’s Al-Nayrab airport, on the outskirts of Aleppo city, was once hit via air assaults “making it out of service”, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news business enterprise stated “local sources” as saying.
Syrian forces used the airbase for “attacks in opposition to the Turkish armed forces and civilians in Idlib”, the news document said.
“The regime’s range of motion has been similarly confined as the Al-Nayrab military airport has been made unusable,” sources had been quoted as saying.
According to the Al Jazeera news, They two were two unable to independently verify the report.
Amid the escalating tensions, the Syrian government closed the airspace over Idlib, with one respectable telling SANA any plane “that violates our airspace will be dealt with as a adversarial flight that need to be shot down and averted from achieving its objectives”.
Forces loyal to al-Assad, backed via Russian airpower, have renewed an offensive to capture Idlib from opposition forces, who are backed with the aid of Turkey.
Since the operation intensified in December, Syrian government forces have hastily advanced into the remaining opposition stronghold, retaking the strategic M5 motorway and solidifying manage over components of Aleppo province, which borders Idlib.
Turkey says the operation violates deals signed with Russia in 2017 and 2018 to set up de-escalation zones in the region.
Tensions have escalated in recent days after 34 Turkish troops were killed in Syrian authorities air raids on Idlib on February 27. The toll was once the largest army loss the Turkish navy has suffered considering it intervened in the Syrian hostilities in 2016.
In response, Ankara said it struck rankings of Syrian authorities objectives and “neutralised” 2,212 soldiers.
Speaking in Hatay on Sunday, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar stated Ankara’s response also destroyed eight Syrian helicopters, 103 tanks, 72 artillery and rocket launchers, and three air defence systems.
“Following the heinous assault on February 27 in Idlib, operation Spring Shield efficaciously continues,” Akar stated in a video shared by means of the defence ministry.
Damascus is yet to remark on the Turkish claims.
“We have no intention of clashing with Russia. Our intention is to cease massacres Syrian regime’s massacres, radicalisation and migration,” Akar was once quoted as announcing by means of Turkish media.
He went on to pledge retaliation towards assaults on Turkish forces and its commentary posts in Idlib and said: “Turkey will solely goal Syrian regime troopers and elements in Idlib who attacked Turkish troops … Turkey expects Russia to use its have an impact on to quit to Syrian regime attacks.”
There used to be no instantaneous remark from Russia.
The renewed war in Idlib has displaced almost one million people, in the main female and children, according to the United Nations. About 300 civilians have also been confirmed killed.
Syrian civil defence rescuers told Al Jazeera that four civilians had been killed, which includes a child, in an air attack on Sunday by means of authorities forces near the city of Maaret Masreen in Idlib.
Mark Lowcock, head of UN’s humanitarian agency, has described the state of affairs as the “biggest humanitarian horror story of the twenty first century” and called for an immediately ceasefire.
At a pro-Turkish demonstration in Idlib’s Hazzaneh town, Hussein al-Hamad stated Ankara intervened in Idlib “based on the request of the free Syrian people”.
“We are in full help of the Turkey’s armed forces’ operation in Idlib and God inclined we will liberate all the towns in the province,” al-Hamad instructed Al Jazeera.
“Turkey’s strong intervention confirms the continuation of battles to wrest manipulate of the fallen areas from the Syrian regime forces and its Russian allies and Iranian militias.”
Idlib resident Othman Abu Fadi additionally reacted positively to Turkey’s army operation.
“We are all hopeful that something high quality will show up to relieve the Syrian human beings of their struggling … We need an ally like Turkey to actively push returned the Syrian government force,” Fadi informed Al Jazeera.
“The morale was once low when we realized of the regime’s advancement into Idlib, however with the rebels taking lower back control of Saraqeb, our trust in the opposition agencies has resurged, especially with their positions in Jabal Zawiya and Sahl-al-Ghab. We hope in every other month’s time Idlib will be beneath full manage of the rebels.”