DW: Turkey launches 'fresh' military operation in Idlib as tensions mount

18:30, 01 March 2020
World
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An illustrative image / REUTERS

The announcement comes as the Russian-backed Syrian military closed its airspace in flashpoint areas, as tensions rise with neighboring Turkey, which supports rebels groups in the region, Deutsche Welle said on Sunday.

Read alsoRussia should stay out of Turkey's fight against Assad regime, Erdoğan tells Putin – media

"We don't have the desire or intention to clash with Russia," Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Sunday, marking the first time Ankara has confirmed a full and continuing operation. 

Violence between the two sides erupted days earlier when Syrian airstrikes killed 34 Turkish soldiers in the province of Idlib. Turkey retaliated with deadly airstrikes targeting regime forces.

Syrian state media said that Turkish forces shot down two Syrian jets on Sunday, but the pilots ejected with parachutes. Earlier Turkish media claimed that one jet was shot down.

The Syrian army earlier said it had downed a Turkish drone over the town of Saraqeb.

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