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The Turkish army is retaliating with artillery fire at Syrian government targets in Syria after an airstrike killed 22 Turkish soldiers in the northwestern Idlib province, two Turkish security officials said on Friday.


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"All known" Syrian government targets are under fire by Turkish air and land support units, Turkey's communications director Fahrettin Altun said separately on Friday, according to state-run Anadolu news agency. Turkey has decided to "respond in kind" to the attack by the Syrian government, Altun added.

This came immediately after an air strike by Syrian regime forces against Turkish military in Idlib, according to Rahmi Dogan, the governor of Hatay in Turkey which sits on the border with Syria, as reported by Anadolu.

Dogan later gave a death toll of twenty-two people, up from an earlier toll of 9.

After the attack, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held an extraordinary meeting on the situation in Idlib at his presidential complex in Ankara, attended by ministers and military officials.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg by telephone, according to state-run Anadolu news agency.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a local monitor, gave a higher death toll, claiming 34 Turkish soldiers were killed.

The deaths are the largest number of fatalities suffered by Turkish forces in a single day since Ankara started sending thousands of troops into Idlib in recent weeks in a bid to halt an advance by Syrian forces and their Russian allies.

Russia and Turkey agreed in 2018 to create a demilitarized zone in Idlib in an accord that has since fallen through. Fighting in the northwestern Syrian province has sent hundreds of thousands of displaced people towards the Turkish border.

Speaking in Washington, the US ambassador to NATO said Turkey should learn from clashes in Syria who its true friends are and drop its purchase from Russia of a major missile defence system.

The Turks should see "who is their reliable partner and who isn't", Kay Bailey Hutchison told reporters.

"They see what Russia is, they see what they're doing now, and if they are attacking Turkish troops, then that should outweigh everythingRead More – Source