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Military Capabilities

Turkey claims retaliation after soldiers killed in Syria

03 February 2020
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Five Turkish soldiers and a Turkish civilian were killed as a result of an attack on Turkish reinforcements to Idlib province in northwest Syria, the Turkish Defence Ministry (MSB) said in a statement on 3 February.

A Turkish flag flies over a building with a Turkish ACV armoured vehicle parked outside north of Saraqib on 1 February. (Omar Haj Kadour /AFP via Getty Images)A Turkish flag flies over a building with a Turkish ACV armoured vehicle parked outside north of Saraqib on 1 February. (Omar Haj Kadour /AFP via Getty Images)

It said the attack was carried out by Syrian government forces and that Turkish forces were continuing to fire on targets to defend themselves.

In a press conference on the same day, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said 40 regime targets had been hit by air and artillery strikes, killing 30-35 Syrians. He added that Turkish forces would continue to retaliate and that Ankara had told Russia that its troops on the ground should stand aside.

In an earlier statement on the same day, the MSB said its troops were attacked by Syrian forces despite their locations being previously co-ordinated. The Russian military usually deconflicts between the Turkish and Syrian militaries.

The TASS news agency cited the Russian Ministry of Defence as saying that the Syrian military fired on the Turks because Russia had not been told about Turkish operations in Idlib. It also cited the Russian military's Centre for Reconciliation of the Opposing Sides in Syria as saying that Turkish aircraft had not carried out airstrikes in Syria.

The state-controlled Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) did not immediately report any casualties to Turkish fire.

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