Monday 03 February 2020
Iman Mahmoud wrote:
In a confrontation, the first of its kind between Russia and Turkey in Syria, clashes erupted between the Syrian army (supported by Russia) and the Turkish forces present in the Idlib region in northern Syria, after the latter strengthened its presence in this area to prevent the regime of Bashar al-Assad from advancing in favor of the opposition armed factions Backed by Ankara.
The confrontation resulted in the killing of 5 Turkish soldiers who went to the city of Saraqib, where Turkey established three observation points, to block the Syrian army from advancing to the heart of Idlib, the last stronghold of the armed opposition in Syria.
On Monday morning, the Russian Ministry of Defense said that the Turkish army came under fire from Syrian forces because it “did not notify Moscow of its operations in Idlib.”
The Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria said in a statement this morning, that units of the Turkish forces moved inside the Idlib area on the night of February 2 to 3, without notifying the Russian side, and came under fire from the Syrian government forces, targeting the terrorists in western Saraqib, according to what they reported. “Russia Today”.
During the following days, the Syrian army succeeded in extending its control over dozens of villages and most of the lands of the strategic city of Ma`rat al-Numan, the second largest city of Idlib, which entered the entire Hama-Aleppo international route, thus opening a fast and direct route between the political capital Damascus and the economic capital of Aleppo.
Erdogan and the “False Response”
At a press conference at Ataturk Airport, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the Turkish army responded to the Russian bombing, adding: “Our army killed about 30 or 35 Syrian soldiers, according to preliminary information, and Turkish artillery and F-16s are still responding to the bombing of our soldiers in Idlib. until now”.
Erdogan indicated that the Turkish artillery force responded with 122 bursts along with 100 mortar shells against 46 targets of the Syrian army, and said: “We cannot be silent about the martyrdom of our soldiers and we will continue to respond.”
Erdogan expressed Ankaras determination to continue its operations in Syria “in order to ensure the security of our country and people and the security of our brothers in Idlib,” warning that “those who test Turkey’s resolve through these sordid attacks will know that they are making a big mistake.”
Erdogan continued, addressing Russia: “You are not the party we are dealing with, but rather the Syrian regime, and we hope that obstacles will not be placed in front of us.”
He added that the airspace over the Idlib area to reduce the escalation is constantly monitored by the Russian space air force, and that Turkish warplanes did not violate the Syrian border, and no strikes were recorded against the positions of the Syrian forces.
Both sides deny
After Erdogan announced the killing of about 35 Syrian soldiers at the hands of his army, the official Syrian news agency “SANA” confirmed that “the response of the Turkish forces in the Idlib countryside did not result in any injury or damage.”
For his part, the opposition Syrian Observatory said that what Erdogan said about his forces targeting more than 40 targets belonging to the Syrian army is “incorrect”, according to “Al-Arabiya Al-Hadath”.
He added that the clashes began when the Syrian army forces took control of the village of Jobas, west of Saraqib, and tried to advance towards the Aleppo-Lattakia road, so that Turkish forces moved in the same direction to prevent the Syrian forces from entering that area.
He continued, “The Turkish forces were targeted by the Syrian army, and the Turkish forces responded by bombing several points in the Mork region, as the Syrian army targeted from within the Iskenderun brigade, with several missiles, but Turkish F-16s did not target Syrian positions and did not neutralize 45 targets.” “.
As for Russia, it also denied Erdogan’s claim, and accused him of violating the armistice agreement in northern Syria, stressing that “Turkey did not carry out air strikes on Syrian army positions.”
The Kremlin said that Russia fully fulfills its obligations in Idlib, expressing its deep concern that some armed groups supported by Turkey have carried out armed attacks in this region.