[Marxism] Airstrike Hits Turkish Forces in Syria
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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