Turkish troops were acting inside “combat units” with jihadist militants in Idlib province when they were targeted by a Syrian government airstrike on Thursday, Russia’s Defense Ministry said
The airstrike was carried out when the Syrian Army was repelling a large-scale offensive by terrorist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an offshoot of Al-Qaeda in Syria, inside the Idlib ‘de-escalation zone,’ the Russian military said on Friday.
Turkish servicemen inside the combat units of terrorist groups came under fire from the Syrian military on February 27 near the town of Behun.
The Defense Ministry said that the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria was in constant contact with Ankara, “regularly” requesting and receiving information on the whereabouts of Turkish troops. And, according to the data submitted by Turkey, there were no Turkish soldiers near Behun when the Syrian Army was fighting terrorists there.
Turkish officials have slammed Damascus for the airstrike. Vice President Fuat Oktay warned that the Syrian “regime elements will pay a heavy price for this treacherous attack.”
It is not the first time that Russia has accused Ankara of failing to properly notify it and the Syrian government about the movement of Turkish military inside the Idlib “de-escalation zone.” Earlier this month, six Turkish soldiers were killed when their convoy came under fire west of Saraqib after they moved there “without informing the Russian side,” Moscow said at the time.