Syrian civil war: Damascus condemns Turkey convoy for Idlib

19 Août, 2019, 16:53 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Map of territorial control in northern Hama  southern Idlib provinces as of Monday morning

Turkey says airstrikes have targeted a Turkish military convoy in Syria, killing at least three civilians.

Turkey's defence ministry "strongly" condemned an air strike on its military convoy heading through Syria's Idlib province on Monday, which it said was a violation of agreements with Russian Federation. Turkey has 12 observation posts in and on the edge of Idlib as part of an agreement reached with Russian Federation.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights activist group said the convoy was stationary on the Damascus-Aleppo worldwide highway when the area was bombed.

While Turkey has been able to maintain observation posts in Idlib, its cooperation with Russia has not prevented the government of President Bashar al-Assad, Russia's ally, from pursuing an all-out offensive to recapture the province from Syrian rebel groups.

More than two dozen civilians have been killed during the weekend's escalation of the government offensive against militants and allied rebels in the last major opposition stronghold in Syria.

Turkey, which hosts some 3.6 million Syrian refugees and warns it cannot accept more, fears the onslaught in Idlib could spark a new influx.

Fighters from a Turkish-backed rebel force have joined the defence, he said. Fighters arrived to reinforce the frontline, he said, including some from the National Army, a Turkey-backed rebel force based further north near the border.

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The Syrian news agency SANA said it was carrying weapons and ammunition to "terrorist forces" in the town of Khan Sheikhoun.

A colonel from a rebel faction confirmed to Reuters news agency that there were battles going on on the outskirts.

Khan Sheikhoun, along a highway stretching from the capital Damascus to Aleppo city, was bombed with sarin in 2017, an attack that killed dozens of people, wounded hundreds and prompted a USA missile strike. Damascus denies using such weapons.

The army has closed in on the town from the east and west since a brief ceasefire collapsed earlier this month.

The Idlib region was supposed to be protected from a massive regime offensive by a buffer zone deal signed between Russian Federation and Turkey in September a year ago.

Residents said warplanes pounded the town and nearby villages during the night.

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