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Turkish army shot down a Syrian warplane in Idlib

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — On Tuesday, the Turkish army shot down a Syrian warplane, the third since Idlib, where Ankara launched an attack against the Syrian regime forces, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The observatory stated that “the plane belonging to the regime forces was shot down after being targeted by a Turkish F-16 plane,” noting that the plane fell in the regime forces’ control areas in the southern Idlib countryside in the northwest of the country.

The Turkish Ministry of Defense announced that “as part of the ongoing + Spring Shield” operation, an L-39 system plane was shot down.

The official Syrian News Agency (SANA), in turn, stated that the Turkish forces “target one of our warplanes during their operations against terrorist organizations in the Idlib area” without explaining the fate of the crew.

Since the beginning of February, tension between Damascus and Ankara in the region has escalated and has been reflected in clashes on the ground that have resulted in deaths on both sides.

On Thursday, Turkey suffered heavy losses, as at least 33 soldiers were killed by air strikes, which they accused the regime forces of carrying out in Idlib.

Following the attack, Turkey launched a military operation in the area against the Syrian army, which it dubbed “The Spring Shield”. On Sunday, its forces shot down two Syrian “Sukhoi 24” warplanes in Idlib.

For its part, Damascus announced at the end of last week the closure of its airspace in the northwest of the country and threatened to shoot down any plane that violates the airspace of Idlib. On Sunday, it announced the shooting down of three Turkish marches.

With the support of Russia, the Syrian regime has launched a large-scale attack since December against areas controlled by the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham (formerly Al-Nusra) and other opposition factions, and Turkish forces are deployed in and around Idlib governorate. The Syrian forces were able to make significant progress in southern Idlib and western Aleppo.

Fighting is taking place between the regime forces and the Turkish-backed combat factions in the southern countryside of Idlib, as the regime forces managed since Monday to regain the city of Saraqib and other villages in its vicinity, just days after the factions controlled it.

The Syrian Observatory reported that dozens of deaths have occurred between the two sides during the past 24 hours.

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