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Syrian army repels jihadist offensive supported by Turkish troops

The battle for Syria's Idlib explained in 400 words Syria's army pushes into Idlib province
Deanna Wagner | 13 February, 2020, 20:43

Turkish forces operating in northwest Syria got in a shooting war with Syrian government troops this week after the shelling of a Turkish observation post in Idlib province.

Violence has flared in Idlib, just south of Turkey's border, in recent weeks as government forces backed by Russian Federation and Iran have made gains in their campaign to eliminate the last insurgent bastion after the country's nine year war.

The attack, which happened somewhere near Nerab in western Syria, comes after Syrian tyrant Bashar al-Assad's forces killed five Turkish soldiers.

Erdogan's direct criticism of Russia is a rare move because in 2015, Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet that had strayed into its airspace.

"The regime, backed by Russian forces and Iran-backed militants, are continuously attacking civilians, committing massacres and shedding blood", Erdogan told a meeting of his ruling party in parliament.

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Military activity and the humanitarian crisis both intensified Tuesday in the city of Idlib as Turkey and its allies clashed with Syrian forces, whose northward drive has rendered over a half-million Syrian civilians homeless since December.

The situation is further aggravated "by the flow of arms and ammunition into the de-escalation zone across the Turkish-Syrian border, as well as columns of Turkish armored vehicles and troops entering Syria's province of Idlib", the statement read. Moreover, Turkish allegations that the Syrian government is deliberately targeting civilians in Idlib are completely untrue, it added.

Under the bilateral agreements, radical groups were required to withdraw from a demilitarized zone in the Idlib region held by an array of rebels.

Onal, for his part, stressed the importance of implementing Astana and Sochi deals in the region.

Erdogan's threats also prompted an angry response from the Syrian government, accusing the Turkish leader of being "disconnected from reality".