Syria war: Turkey will not let Syrian army advance in Idlib, says Erdogan

Turkey will not let Syria’s government gain more ground in the opposition stronghold of Idlib province, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says.

Mr Erdogan told reporters that Russian-backed pro-government forces were “driving innocent and grieving people in Idlib towards our borders”.

More than half a million civilians have fled their homes since the government launched an offensive in December.

Mr Erdogan’s warning came after eight Turkish military personnel were killed.

Turkey’s defence ministry said seven soldiers and one civilian died in Idlib on Monday when they were shelled by the Syrian army despite being told of their position. In response, Turkish forces “neutralised” 76 Syrian soldiers, it added.

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Opposition-held Sarmin, north-west of Saraqeb, came under bombardment on Tuesday

Syrian state media said there were no casualties. But the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, reported that at least 13 soldiers were killed by Turkish fire in Idlib and neighbouring Latakia and Hama provinces.

The Turkish military has deployed troops to Idlib to monitor a 2017 de-escalation agreement brokered by Turkey…

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