Battling raves in northwest Syria; 2 Turkish soldiers killed

Battling raves in northwest Syria; 2 Turkish soldiers killed

Two Turkish soldiers were eliminated and another five injured in Syrian federal government air raids on Thursday near the northwest region of Idlib.

More than 50 Syrian forces were eliminated in retaliation, Turkey’s defence ministry included.

The attacks came a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan alerted of an imminent Turkish military offensive in Idlib, where Syrian forces, backed by Russia airpower, mounted an operation to capture the region.

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Turkey’s Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said the soldiers – who were in Idlib to “develop peace and handle humanitarian help operations” – were killed by “an attack carried out by the [Syrian] regime”.

Previously this month, 13 Turkish soldiers were eliminated in Syrian attacks, triggering Erdogan to state Turkey will assault Syrian forces “anywhere” in Syria if another soldier was harmed.

In a statement, the defence ministry stated five tanks, 2 armoured workers carriers, two armoured trucks and one howitzer were also ruined in retaliation.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war screen stated at least 11 pro-government fighters and 14 on the pro-Turkey side were eliminated along with the 2 Turkish troops.

Russia – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s main ally – accused Turkey on Thursday of providing weapons support to rebels fighting Syrian government forces, and said fighters quickly broke through federal government defences in Idlib, Russian news agencies reported.

Russia’s flying force carried out air raids on the pro-Turkish fighters who break through Syrian government positions in 2 areas of Idlib province, enabling the Syrian army to repel the attacks, the defence ministry was mentioned as stating.

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar stated on Thursday the United States may send out Patriot missile systems to Turkey to use for security in the face of the conflict. Akar said talks with the United States on buying Patriot systems were continuing.

” There is the danger of air strikes, rockets against our country,” Akar informed CNN Turk broadcaster. “There could be Patriot support.”

Akar included Turkey will trigger the S-400 rocket defence system that it bought from Russia and there must be “no doubt” about this.

But he included: “We have no intents of a face-off with Russia.”

Humanitarian disaster

Nearly 900,000 people, more than half of whom are kids, have actually fled their homes in Idlib considering that December 1, when Russian-backed Syrian government forces pushed ahead with a military offensive to press out opposition fighters from their last fortress in the country.

Most of them are now in Idlib and Aleppo governorates, where freezing conditions are producing a grave humanitarian circumstance.

At the UN Security Council on Wednesday, Russia blocked a resolution requiring a ceasefire in northwestern Syria.

In Geneva on Thursday, the United Nations refugee chief called for a halt to the combating to permit hundreds of countless caught civilians to transfer to locations of security.

Syrian troops backed by Russian forces have been battling given that December to eradicate the last rebel bastions in Idlib and Aleppo provinces in what might be one of the last chapters of the nine-year civil war.

Homeowners and relief staff stated Russian warplanes on Thursday resumed attacks on the towns of Darat Izza and Atareb in the northern corner of Aleppo province, where Turkish soldiers have set up a line of defence to ward off more advances by the Syrian army and allied Iranian militias.

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In Idlib province, Turkish weapons offered cover fire for restored rebel attacks on Nairab and the strategic crossroads town of Saraqeb, according to rebels and residents.

Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Hatay, Turkey, stated the rebels’ advance was only enabled with the “massive pounding of federal government forces’ positions by Turkish weapons earlier”.

” The momentum, the rebels say, is now in their favour and they say they are positive they’ll have the ability to reverse the gains made by the Syrian government over the last 2 months.

” However, we do not understand at this phase whether this is an extensive military operation that would include lots of Turkish soldiers on the ground to press the Syrian army from all those locations,” Ahelbarra said.

‘ End the problem’

Talks between Ankara, which supports some rebel factions, and Moscow to prevent a larger war and a possible direct conflict have actually struggled to make development.

Turkish authorities sounded more optimistic on Thursday and one stated the latest round had actually not been “totally without an outcome”.

” Russia has actually kept its position that Turkey withdraws from Idlib and leaves its observation posts since the beginning. Withdrawing from Idlib or evacuating the observation posts is not on the program,” the authorities said, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

However, various alternatives were being gone over, consisting of the possibility of joint patrols in the location. Both Ankara and Moscow anticipated their presidents to “end the issue”, he added.

The Turkish authorities stated the weapons bombardments did not signify Erdogan had introduced a major operation.

Ankara and Moscow have actually implicated each other of flouting a 2018 de-escalation contract that permitted Turkey and Russia to establish observation posts in Idlib.

Turkey has stated a few of its posts in Idlib were surrounded by Syrian government forces.

No place to go

The UN stated on Thursday an approximated 170,000 of the 900,000 civilians forced from their houses are living out in the open.

The biggest displacement given that the civil war in Syria broke out almost 9 years earlier is available in the thick of winter season, with temperature levels typically dipping listed below no degrees Celsius and snow covering some districts.

In Azaz, about 30 km (20 miles) northwest of Aleppo city, Abu Abdallah had actually been stranded on the roadway for days.

After his family got away the air raids pounding Idlib, they moved from one town to another however have yet to discover haven. With him were his better half, four children and 20 other loved ones.

” I do not understand where to take them,” the 49- year-old farmer said, sitting on his tractor. “God understands where we will go.”

Families are sleeping outside by roadways and in olive groves, burning trash to stay warm.

The UN has gotten in touch with Turkey to take in more refugees, arguing the emergency is severe.

Turkey, which currently hosts the world’s biggest variety of Syrian refugees with about 3.6 million individuals, wishes to prevent another mass increase.

” We require an end to the combating … to preserve lives,” UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said in a statement.

” I am likewise appealing for neighbouring nations, consisting of Turkey, to expand admissions so that those most in risk can reach security,” Grandi said.

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