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Pakistani F-16 (Photo Credit: AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

Russian taskforce’s command cannot guarantee safety of Turkish aircraft’s flights over Syria, Oleg Zhuravlev, chief of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Parties in Syria, said on Sunday.

According to Zhuravlev, the Syrian government was forces to declare the closure of airspace over Syria’s Idlib governorate.

“In such conditions, the command of the Russian taskforce cannot guarantee safety of flights by Turkish planes over Syria,” he stressed.

A source in the Syrian defense ministry said earlier on Sunday that Turkish F-16 fighter jets had downed two Syrian warplanes over the Idlib de-escalation zone, the pilots had ejected themselves. The source also said that Syrian air defense systems had destroyed six Turkish drones.

“Reports citing internet resources that a Su-24 plane of the Russian aerospace forces had been hit from a man-portable air defense system in the airspace over the Idlib de-escalation zone are not true,” Zhuravlev stressed.

The situation around Idlib aggravated on February 27 when, according to the Russian defense ministry, militants attempted a large-scale attack. The Syrian government army retaliated by delivering a strike, which, Ankara claims, killed 33 Turkish soldiers. The Russian defense ministry said however that the Turkish soldiers who had come under fire from the Syria army were fighting along with the terrorists.

Source: TASS, March 1st, 2020