Two Syrian government planes and Turkish drones downed, as Idlib tensions escalates

SANA says the jets were targeted over the Idlib region, and that the four pilots ejected with parachutes and landed safely.

"Our expectation from Russian Federation at this point is to fulfill its commitments as the guarantor country, and in this context, to use its influence on the regime (Syrian government) to make it halt its attacks and withdraw to the borders set with the Sochi Agreement", said the minister. It said any aircraft that penetrates Syrian airspace will be treated as hostile and shot down.

The Associated Press reported that the governor of Turkey's Hatay province, Rahmi Dogan, said 29 Turkish troops were killed and another 30-plus were wounded in an air strike carried out in the Syrian province of Idlib.

"U.S. and Israeli officials are leading Turkey towards a war with Syria".

Thousands of migrants have travelled to the Greek border with Turkey after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan allowed refugees to travel on to Europe.

Thursday's air strike took place in Idlib, the last province to remain under opposition control.

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The provincial government said these were imported cases from Wuhan, and two prison officials had been removed from their roles. Another death has been reported, in a doctor working at a Wuhan hospital, Xinhua , China's state news agency, reported today.

"Iran's Military Advisory Center in Syria calls on Turkish forces to deal [with the situation] rationally and in accordance with the interests of the Syrian and Turkish nations", added the statement.

A Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said: "Greece yesterday came under an organised, mass, illegal attack, a violation of our borders and endured it".

"Following the heinous attack on February 27 in Idlib, Operation Spring Shield successfully continues", Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar was quoted by AFP as saying via state news agency Anadolu, adding, "We don't have the desire or intention to clash with Russian Federation".

The operation is Turkey's fourth in the war-torn country since 2016. Almost 950,000 displaced civilians have been pushed towards the Syrian-Turkish border amid cold winter weather.

Russian Federation is the main backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad and has supported his forces as they have advanced deeper into the last rebel strongholds in Idlib. The Turkish troops were in the area of Behun, and according to coordinates given to Russia's Reconciliation Center in Syria, "there were no Turkish military units in the area. and there weren't supposed to be" there. On Friday, Turkey, which backs anti-Damascus militants, claimed that it had hit 200 Syrian government targets, "neutralizing" 309 soldiers.

A Turkish official said the fighting in Idlib was directly linked to Turkey's opening the gates to Europe, saying Ankara had changed its focus to preparing for the possibility of new arrivals from Syria "instead of preventing refugees who intend to migrate to Europe".

  • Sonia Alvarado