Turkish fighter jet downs third Syrian warplane over Idlib

Turkish fighter jet downs third Syrian warplane over Idlib
Turkey has downed a third Syrian regime aircraft since announcing the launch of Operation Spring Shield in Syria on Sunday.
2 min read
03 March, 2020
The Syrian regime's advance on Idlib has displaced close to a million Syrians [Getty]

A Turkish fighter jet downed a Syrian regime warplane over the northwestern Idlib province Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said, in the third such downing in three days.

Syrian state news agency SANA said the plane was "targeted", after two others were shot down on Sunday in a Turkish operation against Russia-backed regime forces in the Idlib region.

On Sunday, Ankara confirmed that it had launched a full military operation - dubbed Operation Spring Shield - against Russian-backed Syrian regime forces following deadly clashes last month.

Ankara killed 19 Syrian troops in drone strikes on Sunday and downed two regime planes, the Turkish defence ministry said, as well as destroying three of Damascus' air defence systems in the embattled Idlib province.

Turkish drones have led a fierce assault on forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad since the deaths of 34 Turkish troops in an Idlib airstrike blamed on the regime last week.

But Turkey remains determined to avoid direct clashes with the regime's key backer Moscow, with which it shares significant defence and trade ties. 

Despite being on opposing sides of the conflict, Turkey and Russia have coordinated closely in the past.

It was their brokering of a 2018 deal in Sochi that led to Turkey establishing a dozen military observation posts in Idlib to prevent a regime offensive and a fresh inflow of refugees into Turkish territory.

Damascus and Moscow are determined to regain full control of Idlib, the country's last opposition bastion, having carried out a devastating airstrike and ground campaign on the province.

On Tuesday, an airstrike by pro-regime forces killed eight civilians, including four children in Idlib city, according to opposition news sources.

Agencies contributed to this report

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