1 Mar, 2020 13:41 / Updated 1 hour ago
Turkish fighter jets intercepted two Syrian warplanes over Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib and shot them down, the state-run SANA news outlet reported, adding that both planes’ crews ejected and parachuted to safety.
The Turkish Defense Ministry confirmed it shot down two Syrian Su-24 bombers after one of its combat drones was destroyed by Syrian air defenses. SANA reported that several Turkish unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) violated Syrian airspace and were spotted not just in Idlib but near the city of Hama as well. There, air defense systems were engaged to deal with the hostile invasion.
According to SANA, the Syrian military shot down a total of three Turkish drones on Sunday. Meanwhile, some reports suggested that as many as six UAVs were destroyed. SANA posted a video of one Turkish UAV being brought down near the town of Saraqib, east of Idlib.
A military source told the outlet that the Syrian Army closed the airspace in the northwestern part of the country, including Idlib Province, and that any aircraft entering Syrian skies will be considered a hostile target.
Ankara launched Operation Spring Shield in Idlib on Sunday, describing its task as “self-defense” against the attacks by Syrian government troops on Turkish soldiers maintaining outposts in the area.
Tensions in Idlib flared-up again this week after 34 Turkish soldiers were killed in a Syrian airstrike. Russia said it happened because the Turkish personnel were present alongside terrorist units being bombed by Damascus, and Ankara had failed to properly notify Moscow about its troop movements.
Idlib is the last-remaining stronghold of anti-government forces in Syria, with many belonging to jihadist groups like Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an offshoot of Al-Qaeda. Ankara has long promised to separate the moderate groups it backs from the more radical elements, but Russia insists it has failed to do so. (Click to Source)
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