An attack on Turkish troops in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province has killed two soldiers and wounded three others, according to the Turkish defence ministry.
Saturday’s assault happened following a search and screening operation in the Idlib de-escalation zone, the ministry said in a statement. It identified the dead soldiers as infantry non-commissioned officers.
Idlib is the last major rebel stronghold in Syria’s civil war and parts are patrolled by Turkish and Russian troops.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said a roadside bomb attack on a Turkish convoy happened on the road between Idlib city and Binnish. It said the wounded soldiers were evacuated to Turkey by helicopter.
SOHR said the attack was claimed by a group known as the Supporters of Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Company, which has claimed previous attacks on Turkish forces.
Akar on the border
Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar later travelled to the Syrian border to meet military commanders.
Northwestern Syria has seen sporadic military activities since a ceasefire there was brokered in March 2020 by Turkey and Russia, which support opposing sides in Syria’s civil war. The deal ended a crushing Russian-backed government offensive in Idlib province.
Syria’s government, which agreed to the Russia-Turkey negotiated truce, has promised to restore control over territory it lost during the 10-year conflict.
Northwestern Syria is home to some four million people, many of them displaced by the civil war that has killed a half million people and displaced half the country’s pre-war population of 23 million, including more than five million who are refugees outside the country.
In February last year at least 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in an air attack in Idlib, leading to massive Turkish retaliation against pro-government forces.