Issued on: 03/02/2020 – 09:24Modified: 03/02/2020 – 09:24

At least four Turkish soldiers were killed and nine others were wounded in "intensive shelling" in the northwestern region of Idlib on Monday by Syrian government forces, Turkey's National Defense Ministry said. A Turkish retaliation killed six Syrian soldiers, according to a monitor group.

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The ministry said the shelling in Syria's Idlib province took place despite prior notification of the coordinates of the Turkish forces that were sent to the province as reinforcements. It said Turkish forces responded to the attack.

The incident comes amid a Syrian government offensive into the country's last rebel stronghold, located in Idlib and parts of the nearby Aleppo region. Turkish troops are deployed in some of those rebel-held areas to monitor an earlier cease-fire that was agreed to but that has since collapsed.

Responding to the Syrian shelling, Turkey launched an immediate counterattack. The Turkish strike on regime positions south of the flashpoint town of Saraqeb wounded another 20 regime fighters, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called it an "ongoing operation," and said that 30 to 35 Syrian forces were killed in the counterattack.

He urged regime ally Russia not to stand in the way of Ankara's response. "I want to especially tell the Russian authorities that our interlocutor here is not you but the (Syrian) regime, and do not stand in our way," Erdogan told reporters.

Rare confrontation

The clash is a rRead More – Source

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