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Warplanes launch raids near Turkish observation post in northwest Syria (Observatory)

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Unidentified warplanes launched raids near a Turkish observation post in northwestern Syria on Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

This comes a day after Ankara confirmed that it would take all necessary measures to protect its troops in the area, which is deployed several Turkish observation points under agreements with Russia. Last week, the Syrian regime forces surrounded one of them in the town of Mork in the north of Hama province and south of Idlib province.

The observatory reported today that the raids took place near another Turkish observation post in the village of Sher Maghar in the northwestern countryside of Hama, adjacent to Idlib, noting that he was unable to determine whether the planes were Syrian or Russian due to “overcrowded airspace and the intensity of aerial bombardment.”

Syrian and Russian warplanes daily bombard several areas ranging from the southern countryside of Idlib to some villages in the northern Hama to the northeastern countryside of Latakia. These areas are controlled by HTS (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) and other factions opposed to the regime.

The regime forces started an offensive on the 8th of this month, during which they managed to seize the strategic city of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province and several towns in the north of Hama province.

The Turkish checkpoint encircled in the town of Mork is the largest of 12 similar points deployed by Ankara in Idlib and its environs.

“The situation is so complicated that our soldiers are now in danger. We don’t want this to continue. We will take all necessary steps” to protect them, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday after meeting his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Idlib governorate and adjacent areas in northern Hama, western Aleppo and eastern Latakia are covered by a Russian-Turkish agreement reached in Sochi in September that provided for the establishment of a demilitarized zone, but its implementation has not been completed.

The nearly four-month escalation has driven more than 400,000 people from the region, while more than 930 civilians have been killed, according to the Observatory.

Syria has been plagued by a bloody conflict since its outbreak in 2011 that has killed more than 370,000 people and caused massive destruction of infrastructure, displacing more than half of the population inside and outside the country.

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