UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — A Syrian army helicopter was shot down in northwestern Syria and its crew was killed, according to the official Syrian News Agency (SANA), in the second such incident this week, against the backdrop of increasing tension between Turkey and Syria.
This comes as Syrian regime forces, with the support of their Russian ally, launched an offensive since December in northwest Syria against the last stronghold of jihadists and opposition factions.
“At 1340 local time (1140 GMT),” one of our military hovercraft was hit by a hostile missile in the western countryside of Aleppo, near Greater Urm, where armed terrorist organizations supported by Turkey are deployed, “SANA quoted a military source as saying.
“This led to the fall of the helicopter and the death of its crew,” he added, without specifying its number.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had indicated that two “pilots” had been killed and their bodies found.
For its part, Anatolia News Agency referred to the accident, but without giving details.
It is the second accident of its kind this week. On Tuesday, a Syrian army helicopter was shot down by a missile also attributed to Turkish forces in the neighboring Idlib governorate, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Syrian newspaper Al-Watan reported at the time that three crew members were killed.
For its part, the Turkish media attributed the responsibility of the incident to fighters loyal to Ankara.
Tensions rose between Damascus and Ankara, which urged the regime to stop its offensive against Idlib and the surrounding areas. This month, unprecedented confrontations took place between Turkish soldiers and Syrian forces in the northwest of the country.
Turkey, which supports opposition factions in Syria, has deployed forces in the northwest of the country and has sent reinforcements in recent days.
On Friday, in the northwest of the country, the Syrian regime forces advanced against jihadists and militant factions after controlling a military base they lost more than seven years ago, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham and the factions control 52 percent of Idlib Governorate and parts of the three adjacent provinces, Aleppo, Hama, and Latakia. Opposition groups and other jihadi factions are also deployed in these areas, which constitute the last jihad stronghold outside the control of the regime forces.
After “fierce battles” at dawn with the jihadists and the opposition factions, the regime forces regained Friday the 46th regiment, the base located 12 km west of Aleppo, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The observatory added that Turkish forces were present at that base, but withdrew from it Thursday. He explained that “the Turks withdrew from this base yesterday and during the night there were violent battles with the factions and jihadists. The Turks were there several days ago.”
It is noteworthy that in late 2012, the regime forces lost about 150 members of their forces during the factions ’control of the regiment, during executions and battles in the last hours of the battle.
Since December, the regime forces ’attack has focused on the southern and southeastern countryside of Idlib, and then on the neighboring southwestern countryside of Aleppo, where the international road“ M5 ”that connects the city of Aleppo to the capital, Damascus, crosses several major cities from Hama and Homs to the southern border. With Jordan.
Regime forces seized dozens of villages and towns, most notably the cities of Maarat al-Numan and then Saraqeb in the southeastern Idlib countryside.
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