Turkey says three soldiers hurt in 'deliberate' Syria regime attack

Turkey has 12 military observation posts in Idlib, northwestern Syria, the last bastion of Islamist forces, seeking to prevent a full-scale battle that could drive hundreds of thousands of refugees over its border.
Turkey has 12 military observation posts in Idlib, northwestern Syria, the last bastion of Islamist forces, seeking to prevent a full-scale battle that could drive hundreds of thousands of refugees over its border.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

ANKARA (AFP) - Three Turkish soldiers were injured after a "deliberate" attack by Syrian government forces on one of Turkey's observation posts in Idlib province, Ankara said on Thursday (June 13).

Some 35 mortar were fired by Syrian regime forces from the As Shariah region, which is controlled by Damascus.

Three Turkish soldiers were "lightly wounded" at an observation point in the Zawiyah mountain region, the Defence Ministry said in a statement, adding that the attack was "understood to be deliberate".

Turkey has 12 military observation posts in Idlib, northwestern Syria, the last bastion of Islamist forces, seeking to prevent a full-scale battle that could drive hundreds of thousands of refugees over its border.

Turkish officials will speak to their Russian counterparts about the assault, the statement said.

Last month, the ministry said two Turkish soldiers were wounded by Syrian regime shelling in Idlib.

The last incident came after Russia announced a ceasefire in the province late on Wednesday after weeks of intensified rocket fire and air strikes by regime and Russian forces.

The agreement was concluded following "mediation" between Ankara and Moscow, the Russian Reconciliation Centre for Syria said.

 

Russia has supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Turkey has backed rebel forces seeking his ouster.

But despite being on opposing sides, Russia and Turkey brokered a ceasefire in September 2018 to avert a government assault on Idlib, fearing it could spark the worst humanitarian disaster of the eight-year Syrian war.

The ceasefire has frayed in recent months, with heavy bombardment by regime forces in the region, which is home to three million people.