Syria, 28 February 2020 – Staff Reporter:
At least 33 Turkish soldiers have been martyred and tens of others injured in an airstrike by forces of the Bashar al-Assad regime in Idlib, northwestern Syria, a Turkish official said late Thursday.
“There are critically wounded, and they are being treated at hospitals,” Rahmi Dogan, the governor of Turkey’s Hatay province.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar went to the border between Turkey and Syria following a security meeting convened by Turkey’s president.
Akar and other commanders are controlling the operation by ground and air support units against Assad regime targets in Idlib from a center in Turkey’s Hatay province, bordering Syria.
In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
But more than 1,300 civilians have been killed in attacks by the regime and Russian forces in the zone since then as the ceasefire continues to be violated.
More than 1.7 million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to intense attacks.
Since the eruption of the bloody civil war in Syria in 2011, Turkey has taken in some 3.7 million Syrians who fled their country, making it the world’s top refugee hosting country.