Turkish soldiers stand next to a 155mm self-propelled artillery gun in the town of Binnish in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib (AFP)

A Turkish soldier was killed in shelling in Syria’s Idlib governorate, the administration of Turkey’s Gaziantep Province tweeted on Saturday.

It claimed that the shell had been fired by Syrian government forces.

Situation in Idlib

Idlib is the only large Syrian region that is still controlled by illegal armed groups. A norther de-escalation zone was set up in Idlib in 2017 to give shelter to militants and their families who were reluctant to voluntarily surrender arms in Eastern Ghouta and in Syria’s southern regions. Twelve Turkish observation outposts are operating in the Idlib governorate.

The situation in Idlib deteriorated dramatically after the Russian and Turkish taskforces had made another attempt to enforce a ceasefire. Terrorists only intensified their attacks instead, killing Russian and Turkish military specialists. The Syrian government army took retaliatory actions against extremists and gained control of the city of Saraqib near Idlib on February 5.

In the morning of February 11, the Turkey-backed Syrian opposition launched mass-scale attacks on the Syrian government army on two fronts – the town of Saraqib and the community of Nayrab situated to the north of Saraqib in Idlib. The opposition’s offensive was carried out with the fire support from the Turkish artillery. Jabhat al-Nusra (a terrorist organization outlawed in Russia) militants took an active part in the fighting. Syrian forces repelled these attacks, while militants suffered heavy losses, with lots of those killed and wounded.

Source: TASS, February 22, 2020