ANKARA: At least 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in Syria’s Idlib province after an air strike blamed on Damascus, prompting condemnation from Washington and a UN warning on the rapidly-rising risk of escalation.
According to the details, Dozens more soldiers were injured and taken to Turkey for treatment, Rahmi Dogan, governor of Turkish Hatay — bordering Syria — said Friday.
Valimiz Rahmi Doğan, Suriye’nin İdlib bölgesinde rejim güçleri tarafından yapılan hava saldırısı sonucu şehit olan Mehmetçiklerimiz için Hatay Havaalanı’nda düzenlenen törene katıldı.@dogan_rahmi pic.twitter.com/AiumWNqz1f
— T.C. Hatay Valiliği #𝗘𝘃𝗱𝗲𝗛𝗮𝘆𝗮𝘁𝗩𝗮𝗿 🏡 (@HatayValiligi) February 27, 2020
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said the attack happened “despite coordination with the officials of the Russian Federation who were on the ground when this attack happened.” Akar said ambulances were hit during the strikes.
The heavy losses in northwestern Idlib come after weeks of growing tensions between rebel supporter Ankara and Damascus ally Moscow.
The sources of AFP said, United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement that reiterated Secretary General Antonio Guterres’s call for an immediate ceasefire.
“Without urgent action, the risk of even greater escalation grows by the hour,” United Nations spokesman also said.
The sources also said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hastily convened an emergency meeting in Ankara after the Idlib attack.
Erdogan’s top press aide, Fahrettin Altun, said Turkey’s military retaliated against all known positions of the regime after the air strike.