55 Assad regime soldiers neutralized in Syria's Idlib, Defense Ministry says

ANADOLU AGENCY
ANKARA
Published 13.02.2020 08:57
Updated 13.02.2020 11:46
A Turkish 155mm self-propelled artillery gun is picture in the town of Binnish in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib, near the Syria-Turkey border on Feb. 12, 2020 AFP Photo
A Turkish 155mm self-propelled artillery gun is picture in the town of Binnish in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib, near the Syria-Turkey border on Feb. 12, 2020 (AFP Photo)

The Turkish military neutralized 55 Assad regime troops in northwestern Syria’s Idlib province on Wednesday, the Defense Ministry said.

"According to the latest information received from our sources in Idlib, 55 regime troops have been neutralized today," the ministry said in a statement late Wednesday.

Turkish authorities often use the term "neutralized" to imply those in question surrendered or were killed or captured.

The latest development comes in the wake of an attack by regime forces earlier this week that claimed the lives of five Turkish troops. It followed an attack last week by regime forces in Idlib that killed seven Turkish soldiers and one civilian contractor working with the Turkish military. More than a dozen people were also injured.

Turkey retaliated for both attacks, hitting scores of targets and killing 200 Assad regime troops.

Turkish troops are in Idlib – nominally a cease-fire zone, under a deal between Turkey and Russia – as part of an anti-terror and peace mission.

Idlib has been a stronghold of the opposition and anti-government armed groups since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

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 1,800 civilians have been killed in attacks by the regime and Russian forces since then, flouting a 2018 cease-fire and a new one that began on Jan. 12.

More than a million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to intense attacks in the past year.

Turkey remains the country with the most refugees in the world, hosting more than 3.7 million migrants since the start of Syria's civil war.

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