On Thursday a Syrian airstrike against Turkish forces in Idlib killed between 22 and 34 Turkish soldiers. The casualties inflicted in the airstrike are already having an effect from Ankara to Damascus and could end up expanding the Syrian conflict in the coming days.
Before today, Turkey has been calling for Russia and the Syrian government to end its offensive in Idlib, and for Syrian forces to end their encirclement of Turkish positions in the province. Although Turkey appeared to initially lay blame for today’s attack on Syria’s shoulders, Russian jets have been active in the area for some time. To be certain, Russia is complicit in today’s attack. The Russian military provides targeting information, and intelligence on Turkish forces to the Syrians.
Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan called an emergency security meeting in Ankara. As the meeting was taking place the first wave of Turkish retaliation was underway. Artillery attacks against Syrian forces in Idlib, and rocket attacks on government targets in Nubl, Zaharra, and Latakia. “We are hitting, with land and air backup, all known regime targets, and will continue to do so. We’ll continue our operations in Syria until the hands that attacked our flag is dealt with,” Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said.
There is a lot happening on multiple fronts with regards to Syria, Russia and Turkey’s reaction to the airstrike earlier today. Tomorrow we’ll discuss the growing crisis in Syria further and cover any new developments that might occur overnight.