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Syria forces attack Turkish outpost, break Idlib ceasefire

Turkish Armed Forces' tanks are being dispatched from Hatay to support the units at the Syrian's Idlib border, in Hatay, Turkey on January 11, 2019 [Erdal Türkoğlu / Anadolu Agency]
Tanks belonging to the Turkish Armed Forces are being sent to Syria's border on 11 January 2019 [Erdal Türkoğlu/Anadolu Agency]

Syrian regime forces under President Bashar Al-Assad have today launched an attack on a Turkish observation post in the province of Idlib breaking the terms of an agreed de-escalation zone, Turkey's Ministry of Defence reported.

The attack on the tenth observation post – one of 12 posts erected by the Turkish military in the area following the ninth round of the Syria peace talks hosted in Astana, Kazakhstan – has broken a ceasefire in Idlib that was negotiated by Turkey and Russia yesterday evening.

In the attack, 35 mortar shells were reportedly fired and resulted in the injury of three Turkish soldiers. It was reportedly the fifth time such an attack has taken place near Turkish observation posts, with similar attacks by the regime having taken place on 29 April, 4, 12 and 31 May.

READ: Assad's war crimes include the systematic targeting of hospitals, yet go unpunished

Before the assault, shelling by regime forces continued in the countryside of southern Idlib and northern Hama past midnight, shortly after the ceasefire went into effect. The details of the ceasefire, including how long it would last, were not revealed and remain unclear, but the regime's continued shelling of Idlib and direct attack on the Turkish outpost has effectively jeopardised the short-lived ceasefire.

One Twitter user living in the province bore witness to the "horror" that the people in Idlib underwent yesterday night, and could not count "how many air strikes they've conducted or how many fighter jets are in the sky above us."

After six weeks of the joint Russian-Syrian assault on Idlib province in north-west Syria, the last opposition-held stronghold in the country, hundreds of people have been killed by air strikes, numerous hospitals and schools have been destroyed, and hundreds of thousands of the displaced Syrians who sought shelter in Idlib have fled north to the Turkish border.

Middle EastNewsRussiaSyriaTurkey
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