As we have reported earlier, At least 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in Syria’s Idlib province on Thursday in an aerial attack by Russian-backed Syrian regime forces, Turkish officials said, raising the specter of a full-blown conflict.
In response Turkey says it hit 200 government targets in response, “neutralizing” 309 soldiers. Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said that in addition to the casualties inflicted, five Syrian government helicopters, 23 tanks, 23 howitzers, and two air defence systems had been destroyed.
On February 28, the Turkish Ministry of National Defense released a 14-minute video of dozens of drone strikes on the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) troops and equipment.
While the beginning of the video shows strikes that were carried out over the last few days, the last part includes footage of dozens of strikes that were conducted within the last 24 hours.
The Turkish strikes destroyed dozens of battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), rocket launchers, howitzers, pickup-mounted machine guns, and trucks.
Turkish media also released unique footage shows Turkey’s armed unmanned aircraft system destroyed a Pantsir-S1 self-propelled combined gun-missile system during its strike on Syrian Arab Army targets on Friday near Idlib.
In the video, an apparently active Pantsir system mounted on its 8×8 truck can be seen sitting placidly as the Turkish munition plunges towards it.
جيش التركي ، دمر نظام الدفاع الجوي Pantir S-1 (Sa-22) الروسي الصنع. يبدو أن رادار النظام فعال..
ميليشيات Wagner الروسية في ليبيا. pic.twitter.com/HRzgeU3MHQ
— Clash Report (@clashreport) February 28, 2020
Turkey is a main backer of the Syrian opposition while Russia has been giving military support to the weeks-long Syrian government offensive in Idlib that has displaced about 950,000 people and left hundreds of civilians dead.
Backed by heavy Russian airstrikes, Syrian regime forces have been fighting since the start of the year to recapture the Aleppo countryside and parts of neighboring Idlib, the last opposition stronghold in the country. The advances have sent hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians fleeing toward the border with Turkey in the biggest single displacement of the nine-year war.
In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone, in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited. But more than 1,300 civilians have been killed in attacks by the regime and Russian forces in the de-escalation zone since then as the cease-fire continues to be violated.
More than 1 million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to some intense attacks.