Nine personnel of Lebanon’s Hezbollah were killed in Turkish strikes on northwestern Syria, the Reuters news agency reported on February 29.
A commander in the regional alliance backing the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) told the agency that Turkish strikes targeted Hezbollah headquarters near the city of Saraqib in southeast Idlib on February 28.
Lebanese sources identified four of the slain fighters as ‘Isa Ali al-Burji, Ali Isa Qasim, Muhammad Jamal Tarshishi, and Ali Ahmad Abu Khader.
Among those killed there was also Iranian commander, reportedly from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), who was embedded within the ranks of Hezbollah. The commander was known as Ali al-Zinjani.
Turkish drones carried out dozens of airstrikes on Syrian forces and their allies in Idlib’s southern countryside and the western Aleppo countryside on February 29. The intense airstrikes inflicted heavy losses on the SAA, which reportedly lost more than 40 service members, including at least five officers.
The strikes were apparently a response to the killing of 36 Turkish soldiers on February 27. A series of Syrian airstrikes on southern Idlib claimed the lives of the soldiers, who were reportedly from elite commando units.
The devastating Turkish strikes will likely lead to more escalation in northwest Syria. Hezbollah is known for responding to any attack on its troops in Syria.