Turkish soldiers killed in attack in northwest Syria

Turkish soldiers killed in attack in northwest Syria

Turkish soldiers killed in attack in northwest Syria

Five Turkish soldiers were killed and five others were injured in a Syrian regime artillery attack in Idlib province of Syria, as the Turkish army retaliated against the regime forces, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said on Feb. 10.

The attack, on a newly established Turkish military base in Taftanaz in Idlib province, happened a week after seven Turkish soldiers and one civilian contractor, working with the Turkish military, were killed by Syrian army bombardment.   

Ankara said it retaliated for the latest strike.

“As a result of the intense artillery shooting by the regime on Feb. 10, 2020, five of our heroes were martyred and five others were wounded, who were among the elements sent to the region in order to prevent conflicts, to ensure our border security, to prevent migration and humanitarian tragedy,” said the Defense Ministry in a written statement.

The Turkish army responded to the targets determined in the region, said the statement.

“The necessary response was given, the targets were destroyed and the blood of our martyrs was not left on the ground. The developments are being closely monitored and necessary measures are being taken,” said the statement.

“A heinous attack occurred today in Idlib, where our military serves, pursuant to our rights under international law, to end the violence and mitigate the humanitarian crisis. I pray for our sons, who perished in the said attack and wish a speedy recovery to our wounded,” Fahrettin Altun, the presidential communications director, said on his Twitter account.

Turkey retaliated against the attack to destroy all enemy targets and avenge the fallen troops, he said. “The war criminal, who ordered today’s heinous attack, targeted the entire international community, not just Turkey.”

“The Turkish Armed Forces, who tirelessly serve the cause of peace and stability around the world, will continue to crush anyone who dares to target our flag, to reassure our friends, and to strike fear into the hearts of our enemies,” Altun noted.

As the conflict escalated in Idlib, Turkish and Russian officials met in Ankara for talks.

Turkey, which hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees, says the offensive has set off a fresh humanitarian crisis. It says it cannot absorb any more refugees and has demanded Damascus pull back in Idlib by the end of the month or face Turkish action.