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Conflicts intensify in Syria and oppose Turkey and Russia

by Ace Damon
Conflicts intensify in Syria and oppose Turkey and Russia

The recent offensives by the Syrian regime in the northwest of the country ended up creating an impasse between Russia, which supports the Syrian dictatorship, and Turkey, which supports the rebels in the country.

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Two Turkish soldiers were killed and five wounded in Syrian government air strikes in the northwestern region of Idlib on Thursday. More than 50 Syrian military personnel have been "neutralized" in retaliation, according to the Turkish Ministry of Defense, using the term that could mean that soldiers have died, surrendered or been captured.

Turkey also says it destroyed five tanks, two armored vehicles and other military equipment in retaliation.

The Syrian Human Rights Observatory, which is based in the United Kingdom, said at least 11 pro-government fighters and 14 on the pro-Turkey side were killed in addition to the two Turkish soldiers.

Forces of Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Asad carry out an operation with Russian support to regain control of the Idlib region, the last major territory under the control of Syrian rebels, who have the support of Turkey.

Russia accuses Turkey of offering artillery support to rebels fighting the forces of the Syrian regime and said the rebels invaded Syrian defense positions in Idlib on Thursday. The action sparked air strikes from Moscow, which said it used fighter jets, at Syria's request, against "terrorists" in the region.

"To prevent terrorist groups from advancing on Syrian territory, Su-24 aircraft from the Russian Aerospace Force launched an attack at the request of the Syrian command against armed formations that had penetrated the area. This helped Syrian troops successfully repel all attacks." , the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria said in a statement, according to the Russian agency Tass.

In that attack, a tank, six combat vehicles and five trucks with large caliber weapons were destroyed, the note continues.

Earlier this month, 13 Turkish soldiers died in attacks from Syria, prompting Turkish President Recep Erdogan to promise that Turkey would attack anywhere in Syria if more Turkish soldiers were killed.

Turkey has already sent additional troops to northwest Syria. There are now about 15,000 Turkish soldiers in the region, according to Reuters, and more trains are across the border in Turkish territory.

Erdogan warned that it may be "a matter of time" for Turkey to launch a military operation to expel the Syrian offensive against rebels in the region. "We are entering the last few days for the regime to stop hostilities in Idlib. We are making our final warnings," said the Turkish president on Wednesday, according to Foreign Policy.

Russia on Wednesday objected to a UN Security Council statement that would call for a ceasefire in Syria, according to AFP.

USA Aid Request

Turkey has asked the United States to send two Patriot anti-missile defense systems to the southern Turkish border to defend against attacks from Syria and Russia, a senior Ankara official said, the report said. Bloomberg.

"The United States has already sent air defense batteries to us in the past," Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told Turkey's CNN in an interview recorded on Thursday before the attacks that killed two Turkish soldiers.

Akar also said he would consider similar support from European allies. The official said Turkey could use F-16 fighters to target units loyal to Assad in Idlib if the Patriots were deployed in Hatay, on the Turkish border, to offer protection.

The Turkish government's request is curious, as Turkey decided last year to buy the Russian anti-aircraft defense system S-400, even under pressure from the US government, which contested the purchase. The action created an impasse between Ankara and Washington – officials feared that if Turkey had Russia's defense system and American F-35 fighters in hand, which had already been ordered, the Russians could have access to American technology and then reach your weaknesses.

"No place is safe"

The recent conflicts have forced some 900,000 people to leave their homes in the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo, according to the United Nations. This is the largest human displacement since the start of Syria's civil war almost nine years ago.

  • Syrian children in makeshift camp for displaced people who fled Syrian regime bombings in Idlib and Aleppo, 18 February | Photo: Bakr ALKASEM / AFP
  • Syrian man passes destroyed buildings in Ihsim, south of Idlib, February 19 | Photo: Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP
  • Syrian children in makeshift camp for displaced people who fled Syrian regime bombings in Idlib and Aleppo, 18 February | Photo: Bakr ALKASEM / AFP
  • Vehicles transport internally displaced people and their belongings through the city of Atme, near the border with Turkey, to the city of Afrin, to escape an offensive by the Syrian dictatorship, 17 February | Photo: Rami al SAYED / AFP
  • Woman and child at Washukanni camp for internally displaced persons near the Kurdish city of Hasakeh, Syria, 17 February | Photo: Delil SOULEIMAN / AFP
  • Turkish military vehicle passes through village in Idlib province towards Aleppo, 19 February | Photo: Ahmad al-ATRASH / AFP
  • Syrian boy at al-Ballut camp in Afrin, Syria, 20 February | Photo: Rami al SAYED / AFP
  • Displaced Syrians arrive at Deir al-Ballut's camp in Afrin, on the border with Turkey, 19 February | Rami al SAYED / AFP
  • Syrian girl at al-Ballut camp in Afrin, Syria, 20 February | Photo: Rami al SAYED / AFP
  • Syrian boy in front of a Turkish military vehicle in Idlib, Syria, 20 February | Photo: Bakr ALKASEM / AFP
  • Destroyed buildings in the city of Ihsim, south of Idlib, February 19 | Photo: Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP
  • Syrian girl travels by truck to al-Ballut camp in Afrin, on the border with Turkey, 19 February | Photo: Rami al SAYED / AFP

Families are fleeing the bombings carrying few belongings and experiencing freezing temperatures. More than half of the displaced are children.

Many people end up stuck on roads, between the conflict and the closed border of Turkey, without finding a place to stay, reported the Reuters. The Turkish government has already warned that it cannot deal with more refugees.

According to the UN, at least 100 civilians were killed in air and land attacks this month in the region, including 35 children. "Nearly 50,000 people are sheltered under trees or in other outdoor spaces," said Mark Lowcock, the UN humanitarian coordinator.

Lowcock said "nowhere is safe" and regretted the reports he has heard daily from babies and children dying from the cold. "Imagine the suffering of a father who escaped a war zone with his child, only to then see that child freeze to death."

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