A Turkish soldier was killed and five others wounded by rocket and mortar fire from militants in northwest Syria as Turkish forces continued to press their offensive in the Idlib area, Turkey’s military said on Tuesday.
It was the second attack in a week on Turkish soldiers trying to establish a position near the frontline between rebels and pro-Syrian government forces, under a deal with Russia and Iran aimed at reducing fighting in the area.
That deal largely collapsed in December when the Syrian army along with Iranian-backed militias and heavy Russian
air power launched a major offensive to take territory in Idlib province and surrounding areas.
Turkey said five soldiers were also wounded in Monday night’s attack and that Turkish forces responded with retaliatory fire. The armed forces did not specify who the militants behind the attack were. A civilian member of the Turkish contingent was also wounded, they said.
Turkey, which supported rebel fighters trying to overthrow Assad, has worked with Assad’s main international backers Russia and Iran in recent months to try to stem some of the bloodshed in Syria’s nearly seven-year-old civil war.
Iran urged Turkey on Monday to stop its two-week-old military offensive against the Kurdish YPG militia in northern Syria’s Afrin region, which neighbors Idlib.
“Turkey’s actions can bring back insecurity, instability and terrorism to Syria,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.
The situation in the area is getting more and tenser as the latest Turkish move puts them in close proximity to Syrian forces with their Iranian proxies less than five miles apart. Meanwhile, Russian airstrikes continue, despite them losing an aircraft to a surface to air missile.
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