19 Syrian soldiers killed in Turkish drone strikes

Syrian soldiers are seen deploying in an oil-rich area in the countryside of Qamishli, northeastern Hasakah province, Syria. (Str/Xinhua/IANS)
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With the latest casualties, around 93 Syrian government soldiers and fighters have been killed in similar attacks over the past 72 hours, said a watchdog group.

SYRIA-SWEIDA-MILITARY OPERATION-AGAINST-ISLAMIC STATE by .
Syrian soldiers are seen during a military operation in the desert of Sweida province. (Xinhua/Ammar Safarjalani)

At least 19 soldiers of the Syrian government forces were killed by Turkish drone attacks in the conflict-ridden Idlib province, a war monitor said.

The Turkish drones on Sunday targeted the Syrian forces’ positions in the Jabal al-Zawiyeh and al-Hamdiyeh camp in Idlib, Xinhua news agency quoted the uk-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights as saying.

With the latest casualties, around 93 Syrian government soldiers and fighters have been killed in similar attacks over the past 72 hours, said the watchdog group.

Earlier in the day, state news agency SANA said the Syrian forces shot down three Turkish drones over Idlib.

Also, the Turkish forces shot down two Syrian warplanes in Idlib.

The incidents were due to the increasing escalation between Turkey and Syria.

Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Sunday that Ankara’s only target would be Syrian soldiers and elements in Idlib under the right of self-defence.

He noted that Turkey does not aim at a face-off with Russia, the Syrian government’s main backer.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

He urged Russia to use its influence on the Syrian government forces to stop their attacks in Idlib.

Since last December, the Syrian forces have been on a wide-scale offensive against the ultra-radical rebels in Idlib province, the country’s last rebel stronghold, which borders Turkey.

On February 27, at least 34 Turkish soldiers were killed in airstrikes in Idlib, which Ankara blamed on the Syrian government.

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