Turkish soldier killed and three injured as Syrian forces attack military post

Russian Embassy officials in Ankara have refused to comment on an attack on a Turkish military observation post in Idlib which occurred on Thursday night.

“There is no comment,” said Irina Kasimova, press attaché of the Russian Embassy in Ankara.

The Turkish Defence Ministry said in a statement that one of their soldiers was killed and three were wounded on Thursday when their observation post in Syria’s Idlib region was attacked by shelling and mortar fire.

“Syrian regime forces carried out the attack on the post in the province’s de-escalation zone and Turkish military retaliated in kind against the Assad regime forces,” the Turkish Defense ministry said in a statement.

“Russia’s Ankara attaché was summoned to military headquarters and was told that the attacks will be punished in the strongest way,” the ministry commented.

Kasimova did not confirm whether Russia’s military attaché was called to the Turkish army headquarters following the mortar attack.

Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) sent reinforcements to the area last night to prevent further attacks, as the Russian backed Syrian forces carried out six attacks against Ankara’s posts on April 29, May 4, 12, 31 and June 8, pro-government Daily Sabah reported.

“The US supports Turkey’s efforts to maintain the Idlib ceasefire and we express condolences for the Turkish soldier killed as a result of shelling by the Assad regime,” following the attack, the United States Embassy Syria tweeted late Friday.

“We reiterate our condemnation of Assad’s and Russia’s escalatory attacks against the Idlib ceasefire zone,” the US said in a statement.

North-western city Idlib is the major rebel stronghold of rebels in Syria. The Turkish military set up 12 observation posts in Idlib’s de-escalation zone after the ninth round of Astana-hosted peace talks.

On 17 September 2018, Russia and Turkey signed The Sochi agreement in an attempt to create a buffer zone in Idlib to protect civilians. Since the beginning of May, more than 300,000 people fled the region to the border with Turkey.

More than 23 hospitals have been hit in April, UN and aid agencies say. More than 1 000 people, including hundreds of civilians, died since  April as Russian backed Syrian forces continued bombing the region.

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