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Turkey shoots down 2 Syrian military aircraft on a combat mission; destroys airport

March 1, 2020 at 3:21 pm

A Turkish military jet is seen after take off at the Incirlik 10th Tanker Base in Adana, Turkey on 17 October 2019 [İbrahim Erikan /Anadolu Agency]

The Syrian army confirmed on Sunday that two of its military aircraft were downed by Turkish jets after they were intercepted during a combat mission in Idlib province, reported Reuters.

Syrian state news media had previously only said that two planes had been “targeted”, adding the pilots escaped in parachutes and were fine.

Earlier, Turkey’s Defence Ministry said one of its drones had been downed on Sunday and that it had shot down two Syrian planes.

Turkish military also targeted and rendered unusable Syria’s Nayrab military airport in the northern province of Aleppo, Turkey’s Anadolu agency said on Sunday.

Tensions in northwest Syria have escalated sharply as fighting between Turkey-backed rebels and Russian-backed Syrian government forces risks bringing the two regional powers into direct confrontation.

Ankara has ramped up its attacks, including drone strikes, against the Syrian army since Thursday, when 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in an air strike by Damascus. Another soldier was killed on Friday, bringing February’s death toll to 55.

Turkey said on Sunday it had destroyed air defence systems, more than 100 tanks and downed two planes belonging to the Syrian army as part of an operation it launched after an air strike killed dozens of its soldiers last week.

Read: Turkey kills over 300 Syria regime troops in retaliation to attack