07:50 GMT23 September 2020
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    The situation in the wayward Syrian province of Idlib turned into an active shooting war between Syrian and Turkish troops last week after a Syrian Army strike targeting Nusra* terrorists killed nearly three dozen Turkish military personnel mixed in among the jihadists. The strike prompted Ankara to launch a major operation in the region.

    Turkish drones in northwestern Syria are targeting everything that moves if it is suspected of being Syrian military-related, Idlib-based Rossiya 1 correspondent Evgeny Poddubny has reported.

    “As soon as Turkish attack drones appeared over the skies of Idlib, the nature of the fighting changed dramatically,” the correspondent said in a news broadcast that aired Sunday.

    According to Poddubny, all of the losses suffered by the Syrian Army in recent days were at the hands of Turkish drones.

    The Turkish news agency Anadolu released a video showing Ankara's strikes on Syrian government positions in Idlib
    © Photo : Anadolu/screenshot
    The Turkish news agency Anadolu released a video showing Ankara's strikes on Syrian government positions in Idlib
    “Turkey has spared no expense for the strikes, which aren’t cheap, hitting supply columns, hitting single targets – cars, pickup trucks, armored vehicles, even motorcyclists. This is what we have been told by Syrian troops on the front line,” Poddubny said. Syrian forces, meanwhile, are doing their best to hold their ground despite the 30-year gap in technology, reportedly shooting down as many as six Turkish drone on Sunday.

    The journalist emphasized that if the airspace over Idlib is not cleared of Turkish drones soon, the Syrian Army will have a hard time holding on to the recent gains it has made against the terrorists operating in the province.

    Turkish drones being used in Syria reportedly include the TAI Anka family of drones, which have a weapons payload of up to 200 kg, as well as the Bayraktar TB2, a long-endurance UAV armed with anti-tank missiles.

    Armed drone Bayraktar
    © Photo : Youtube/Baykar Technologies
    Armed drone Bayraktar

    Tensions Escalate Following Deaths of Turkish Servicemen

    On Sunday, Turkish fighters shot down two Syrian Su-24 bombers, with the pilots parachuting to safety. The same day, the Syrian military closed the airspace over Idlib, and warned that it would treat any violators as aggressors. The Russian Defence Ministry, for its part, announced that it could not guarantee the safety of any Turkish planes operating in the province.

    Syrian Air Force Base in Homs
    © Sputnik / Ilya Pitalev
    Syrian Air Force Base in Homs

    Turkey launched an offensive dubbed ‘Operation Spring Shield’ on Thursday, soon after the deaths of at least 33 Turkish troops in a Syrian Army attack on terrorist positions. The Russian military indicated that these forces were operating among Nusra terrorists in the region, against whom Syrian forces are waging an offensive.

    Syria began a military operation in Idlib late last year, following repeated attacks by Nusra and other terrorists on its servicemen. In early February, a Syrian artillery strike killed over a half a dozen Turkish troops. Russia has sought to mediate the crisis, with Presidents Putin and Erdogan expected to meet in Moscow on March 5 to discuss the situation in the province.


    * A terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries.

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    Russia Can't Guarantee Safety of Turkish Aviation in Syria After Damascus Shuts Idlib Airspace – MoD
    Refugee Outflow From Idlib Accelerates Over Matter of Days - UNHCR
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