[Marxism] Airstrike Hits Turkish Forces in Syria

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Feb 27 15:52:17 MST 2020

NY Times, Feb. 27, 2020
Airstrike Hits Turkish Forces in Syria
By Carlotta Gall

ISTANBUL — The Turkish army suffered mass casualties in an airstrike in 
northwest Syria late Thursday, an attack that could dramatically change 
the course of the Syrian war.

At least 22 Turkish soldiers were killed, said Rahmi Dogan, the Turkish 
governor of the southern province of Hatay, where the Turkish casualties 
were arriving. News reports citing social media messages and the Syrian 
Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitoring group, put the number of 
Turkish dead as high as 34.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey held an emergency meeting 
Thursday evening in Ankara, Turkish media reported. He has been calling 
for Syrian government and Russia forces to cease their two-month 
offensive in Idlib Province and to pull back from Turkish positions, 
which have been encircled and cut off by Syrian government forces.

Turkish officials said the strike had been carried out by Syrian 
government forces, but Russian jets have been conducting most of the 
airstrikes in the area in recent weeks. Russian officials could not be 
reached for comment late Thursday.

Turkey has lost 13 soldiers since deploying reinforcements into the 
province in recent weeks which has caused growing concern in Turkey. The 
main opposition party has questioned the wisdom of Turkey’s involvement 
without air support or American or NATO support.

The attack occurred on a Turkish observation post at Al Bara, south of 
Idlib city. The post is one of 12 Turkish positions set up over a year 
ago as part of a de-escalation agreement with Russia.

A Turkish military convoy traveling to resupply the post on Thursday 
first came under attack and then jets bombed the post itself, Abu Yahya, 
a senior official of the Turkish-backed Syrian fighting force in Idlib 
province, said in an interview.

No Syrian fighters were hurt in the bombing. The resupply convoy and the 
post were solely Turkish.

The Turkish-backed Syrian fighters have made significant gains in 
battles against Syrian government forces further east recently. They 
captured the town of Saraqib on the main M5 highway through the province 
on Wednesday and were engaged in fierce battles further south on Thursday.

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