Turkey destroys scores of Syrian army targets: defense minister
Turkey said on Sunday it had destroyed air defense 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, Trend reports citing Reuters.
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.
“We have neither the intention nor the notion to face Russia. Our only intention there is for the (Syrian) regime to end the massacre and thereby prevent, stop radicalization and migration,” Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said.
He dubbed the operation, Turkey’s fourth in Syria, “Spring Shield”. Akar said Turkey had destroyed a drone, eight helicopters, 103 tanks, 72 howitzers, rocket launchers, and six air defense systems among other military equipment since Feb. 27.
Akar added that 2,212 members of the Syrian forces had been “neutralized”, a term used to designate killed, wounded or captured.
Turkey’s Defense Ministry said one of its drones had been downed on Sunday and that it had shot down two Syrian planes. Syrian state news agency SANA said the pilots escaped in parachutes and were fine.