Three Turkish soldiers injured in 'deliberate Syria regime attack' in Idlib

Three Turkish soldiers injured in 'deliberate Syria regime attack' in Idlib
Turkey's FM admitted the Idlib ceasefire had not yet
been secured, following what it said was a 'deliberate attack' on its observation posts in northern Syria.
2 min read
13 June, 2019
Turkey has 12 military observation posts in Idlib [Getty]

Three Turkish soldiers were injured after a "deliberate attack" by Syrian regime forces on one of Turkey's observation posts in Idlib province, Ankara said Thursday.

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, the last remaining opposition-held enclave, and is 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.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said following the incident that Turkey will do what is necessary if attacks continue.

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

The latest incident came after Russia announced a ceasefire in the province late 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.

However, the alleged ceasefire seemed ineffectual as regime troops and Russian warplanes continued intensive air raids and shelling campaigns on Idlib early on Thursday morning.

Speaking alongside his French counterpart on Thursday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the ceasefire had not yet been fully secured.

"We are working hard with Russia to stop these attacks. It is not possible to say a complete ceasefire has been secured," Cavusoglu told a press conference alongside French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

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.

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