Syrian government airstrikes had killed 33 Turkish troops on Thursday night (Photo Credit: Representational Image)
Turkey destroyed a chemical warfare facility in northwest Syria after dozens of its soldiers were killed by Syrian regime fire, a Turkish official said on Saturday. The Turkish army destroyed overnight "a chemical warfare facility, located some 13 kilometres south of Aleppo, along with a large number of other regime targets," the senior official told reporters on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, Turkey's Defense Ministry said one of its soldiers was killed and two were injured by Syrian government shelling. The announcement late Friday also said Turkish forces hit Syrian government targets and a number of Syrian troops were 'neutralized'.
Syrian government airstrikes had killed 33 Turkish troops on Thursday night. It was the highest number of Turkish soldiers killed in a single day since Ankara first intervened in the Syrian conflict in 2016. The development was the most serious escalation in the conflict between Turkish and Russia-backed Syrian forces and raised the prospect of all-out war with millions of Syrian civilians trapped in the middle.
The latest crisis stems from a Russian-backed Syrian government military campaign to retake Syria's Idlib province, which is the last opposition-held stronghold in Syria. The offensive, which began December 1, has triggered the largest single wave of displacement in Syria's nine-year war, sending nearly 950,000 people fleeing to areas near the Turkish border for safety. Ankara, the Syrian rebels' last supporter, sealed its borders in 2015 and under a 2016 deal with the European Union agreed to step up efforts to halt the flow of refugees. Turkey has had 54 soldiers killed in Syria's northwestern Idlib province since the beginning of February, including the latest fatalities.
Meanwhile, two Russian frigates carrying cruise missiles have been deployed to Syria, Russian navy officials said Friday.
(With Agency Inputs)