As tensions run high in Syria’s Idlib after Thursday’s spike in hostilities, the Syrian government in Damascus closed the airspace over Idlib.
The Russian Defense Ministry announced on Sunday that it now could no longer guarantee the safety of Turkish aircraft flying over northern Syria.
Damascus announced earlier on Sunday that it would treat any aircraft that crosses into the airspace of Syria’s northwest as a hostile target.
This comes amid media reports that two Syrian aircraft were shot down in Idlib. Both pilots survived after ejecting, according to reports.
There were no reports on what aircraft have been hit, but are thought to have been fighter jets. The Syrian military is known to operate Mig-29’s, Su-22’s, and Su-24’s.
A source in the Syrian Defense Ministry revealed that Turkish F-16’s had twice in during the day crossed into Syrian airspace, shooting down government forces’ planes.
In a separate development on Sunday, Syrian air defenses destroyed six Turkish UAVs attacking government forces within the day.
The recent spike in tensions in northwestern Syria occurred on Thursday, as the Syrian army repelled a large-scale assault by terrorists operating in the area. As a result of a counterattack, 33 Turkish soldiers were killed.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the Turkish contingent was operating outside observation posts it previously established under the provisions of deals agreed upon by Turkey, Russia and Iran in 2017 in Astana, and again in 2018 in Sochi.
Syria has been conducting an anti-terrorist military operation in Idlib since December 2019, as attacks by various terrorist factions intensified throughout the country’s northwest.
President Erdogan, however, told President Putin to “get out” of Ankara’s way and leave it “face to face” with Damascus. Moscow noted that Russia remains the only state with a legitimate, internationally-recognized right to deploy its military within Syrian borders.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2020.