Attacks on Turkish observation post in Syria’s Idlib kill soldier

A convoy of Turkish armored vehicles drive toward Bab Al-Hawa crossing point between Syria and Turkey on a highway in the northern countryside of the Syrian province of Idlib on June 20, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 28 June 2019

Attacks on Turkish observation post in Syria’s Idlib kill soldier

  • The attacks were launched from territory controlled by Syrian government forces
  • Shelling and mortar fire judged to have been carried out deliberately

ISTANBUL: One Turkish soldier was killed and three others were wounded on Thursday when their observation post in Syria’s Idlib region was attacked by shelling and mortar fire, the Turkish Defense Ministry said.
The attacks were launched from territory controlled by Syrian government forces and were judged to have been carried out deliberately, the ministry said in a statement. The wounded were evacuated and they have begun to receive treatment, it added.
The ministry said Russia’s Ankara attaché was summoned to military headquarters in connection with the attacks and was told that the attacks will be “punished in the strongest way.”
The Turkish military subsequently opened fire on the Syrian government forces’ positions from where the attacks were launched, the ministry later said.
Syria’s state-run Ikhbariyah TV said on Friday that the Syrian army responded after more than 18 shells targeted government territory in the northwest Hama countryside.
Similar attacks were carried out on Turkish observation posts in the region earlier this month. After the previous attack, the Turkish military retaliated with heavy weapons.
Russia, which supports Syrian President Bashar Assad in his country’s civil war, and Turkey, long a backer of rebels, co-sponsored a de-escalation agreement for the area that has been in place since last year.
The accord has faltered in recent months, forcing hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee. Idlib is the last remaining bastion for anti-government rebels after eight years of civil war.


Macron slams Turkey’s aggression in Syria as ‘madness’, bewails NATO inaction

Updated 19 October 2019

Macron slams Turkey’s aggression in Syria as ‘madness’, bewails NATO inaction

  • EU Council President Donald Tusk said the halt of Turkish hostilities as demanded by the US is not a genuine cease-fire
  • He calls on Ankara to immediately stop military operations,

BRUSSELS/ANKARA: Macron critizes Turkey's aggression in Syria as "madness', bewails NATO inaction

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has bemoaned Turkey’s offensive into northern Syria as “madness” and decried NATO’s inability to react to the assault as a “serious mistake.”

“It weakens our credibility in finding partners on the ground who will be by our side and who think they will be protected in the long term. So that raises questions about how NATO functions.”

EU Council President Donald Tusk said the halt of Turkish hostilities is not a genuine cease-fire and called on Ankara to immediately stop military operations in Syria.

Dareen Khalifa, a senior Syria analyst at the International Crisis Group, said the cease-fire had unclear goals. 

There was no mention of the scope of the area that would be under Turkish control and, despite US Vice President Mike Pence referring to a 20-mile zone, the length of the zone remains ambiguous, she said.

Selim Sazak, a doctoral researcher at Brown University, believed the agreement would be implemented and the YPG would withdraw.

“The agency of the YPG is fairly limited. If the deal collapses because of the YPG, it’s actually all the better for Ankara,” he told Arab News. “What Ankara originally wanted was to take all of the belt into its control and eliminate as many of the YPG forces as possible. Instead, the YPG is withdrawing with a portion of its forces and its territory intact. Had the deal collapsed because of the YPG, Ankara would have reason to push forward, this time with much more legitimacy.”