Turkey Summons Iranian, Russian Envoys over Attacks on Syria's Idlib

13 January, 2018, 01:08 | Author: Sam Montgomery
  • Vadim Savitsky  The Press Center of Russia’s Defense Ministry  TASS

"This isn't a simple air strike, the regime is advancing into Idlib".

"Iran and Russian Federation should fulfil the responsibilities [as guarantor states] in Syria", Cavusoglu said in remarks published by state media.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said this could torpedo talks aimed at ending the war.

Idlib province is nearly entirely controlled by anti-government forces that are dominated by a jihadist outfit known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

In the biggest public flare-up of tensions with Moscow and Tehran in months, Ankara summoned the Russian and Iranian ambassadors over the Idlib bombing.

The area is part of a de-escalation zone agreement in the Kazakh capital Astana past year between Turkey, which supports rebel groups, and Assad allies Iran and Russian Federation.

'We are considering an option to create groups to test experimental equipment to fight UAVs within our units, ' he said.

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Russian bases located in Syrian President Bashar Assad's Alawite heartland had been immune to rebel raids ever since Moscow launched its campaign in Syria in September 2015. "We have exerted so many efforts and we can not waste them". But Cavusoglu said the Idlib offensive was endangering those efforts. The Russian Defense Ministry denied any of its aircraft were lost, but it acknowledged that two troops died in the shelling. The legislator said all of them were combat aircraft.

"If it was the opposition, they tend to put everything online and boast about it", he said. According to Russian defense ministry, all of the drones were detected by anti-aircraft defense systems well in advance and seven of them were then successfully shot down by the Russian Panzir-S air-defense system.

The ministry has written to the chiefs of the Turkish army and intelligence service to insist that Ankara fully implement a ceasefire in Idlib province, the paper added.

According to the Russian Kommersant business daily, seven military planes were "practically destroyed" in that attack, but the ministry dismissed the report as "fake".

The Syrian National Dialogue Congress will be held in the Russian city of Sochi on January 29-30 and 1,700 participants are expected to attend, with the exception of groups Turkey considers terrorist.

"Given Turkey's deteriorating relationship with the U.S., it [would be odd] for Turkey to lash out at Russia", Gorenburg said.

The week before, Russian military journalist Roman Saponkov published photos on social media that appeared to show warplanes damaged in a mortar attack on Russia's Hmeimim base on New Year's Eve.

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