Russia Can’t Guarantee Safety of Turkish Aviation in Syria after Damascus Shuts Idlib Airspace: MoD

As tensions run high in Syria’s Idlib amid Thursday’s spike in hostilities, the Syrian state news agency SANA reported on Sunday that the “Turkish regime’s terrorist forces” downed two aircraft – thought to be fighter jets – belonging to the Damascus forces.


The Russian Defense Ministry announced on Sunday that it could no longer guarantee the safety of Turkish aircraft flying over northern Syria, after Damascus moved to close the airspace over the embattled province of Idlib.


Damascus announced earlier on Sunday that it would treat any aircraft that crosses into the airspace of Syria’s northwest as a hostile target.


This comes amid media reports that two Syrian aircraft were shot down in Idlib. Both pilots survived after ejecting, according to reports.


SANA reported that the “Turkish regime’s terrorist forces” struck the planes, without specifying whether they were Turkish troops or Ankara-backed militants.


A source in the Syrian Defense Ministry revealed that Turkish F-16s had twice in during the day crossed into Syrian airspace, shooting down government forces’ planes.


Syrian air defenses have destroyed six Turkish UAVs attacking government forces on Sunday, the source added.


The recent spike in tensions in northwestern Syria occurred on Thursday, as the Syrian army repelled a large-scale assault by terrorists operating in the area. As a result of a counterattack, 33 Turkish servicemen were killed.


Right after the incident, the Russian Defense Ministry revealed that the dead Turkish troops were mixed with Nusra terrorists who had been operating in the area. The ministry also said the Turkish contingent was operating outside observation posts it previously established under the provisions of deals agreed upon by Turkey, Russia and Iran in 2017 in Astana, and again in 2018 in Sochi.

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