Airstrike kills dozens of Turkish-backed Syrian fighters

28 Octobre, 2020, 10:08 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Smoke rises after war planes belonging to Assad Regime and Russia carried out airstrikes in Binnish town northwestern Syria’s Idlib de-escalation zone on 3 August 2020

Last week, Turkey withdrew from one of its largest outposts in northwestern Syria which had been encircled for the past year by Syrian regime forces.

A ceasefire has been in effect in areas in and around Idlib since March 6, which was announced by Moscow, an ally of Damascus, and Turkey, which supports the fighting factions, three months after a large-scale attack launched by Damascus in the region, causing the displacement of about a million people, most of whom did not return to their towns. Russian Federation has negotiated with Ankara to deploy observation teams in the rebel enclave to monitor the truce.

In retaliation, the Turkey-backed groups, operating under the umbrella of the National Front for Liberation, fired hundreds of artillery rounds and missiles since late Monday at government posts in territories adjacent to areas they control in Idlib and Aleppo provinces.

Turkey firmly backs Azerbaijan in that country's conflict with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, sending it weapons and - reportedly - deploying allied Syrian fighters there.

The opposition vowed to retaliate for the attack on Faylaq al-Sham, blaming Russian Federation for the daytime airstrike.

The camp is located in Idlib province, close to the Turkish border and belonged to Faylaq al-Sham, an alliance of Sunni Islamist rebels aligned with Turkey, the war monitor said. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war in Syria, put the toll at 78 fighters dead and almost 90 wounded. It said it also suspected the airstrike was carried out by Russian Federation, which is a close ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad in the country's civil war.

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Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman described Monday's strikes as the "deadliest since the ceasefire came into force". The NFL said a "large number" of fighters were killed, but declined to give details.

© Provided by Associated Press People attend funeral of fighters killed in an airstrike in the town of Idlib, Syria, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020.

One medical source told MEE that while some of the wounded fighters were taken to Turkey, hospitals in Syria are still under "great pressure" and calling for blood donations. But the truce remained shaky.

Endless rounds of UN-backed peace talks have failed to stem the bloodshed and in recent years have been overtaken by a parallel negotiations track led by Russian Federation and Turkey.

Though contacts between the Turkish and Russian presidents could de-escalate the situation, he said, "it appears more likely that this could trigger some form of Turkish response aimed at reinforcing the deterrence" it has established with the truce earlier this year.

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