Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan acknowledged on February 27 that three more Turkish service members had been killed in Syria’s Greater Idlib region.
“We have three martyrs, let them rest in peace. But on the other hand, the regime’s losses are very big,” Erdogan said in a speech in his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party headquarter in Ankara, according to Reuters.
The Turkish President didn’t provide any details on how the Turkish soldiers were killed by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). The army artillery stuck a convoy of the Turkish military in southern Idlib a day earlier. The soldiers may have been killed in the shelling.
With Erdogan’s announcement, the number of Turkish soldiers killed by the SAA in Greater Idlib has risen to 21. The death of two soldiers was announced late on February 26.
The number of Turkish casualties is expected to increase very soon. Opposition sources reported new attacks by the SAA on Turkish forces in Greater Idlib, including a strike on a position in the town of Baluon in the southern part of the region.
According to the SMART News Agency, the strike killed and injured many Turkish service members and destroyed several heavy vehicles. A video showing a damaged Turkish convoy near Baluon was also shared by activist.
In order to make up for its losses, the Turkish Ministry of National Defense is claiming the killing and injuring of dozens and even hundreds of SAA personnel without providing any proof.
Greater Idlib will likely witness more escalation between the SAA and Turkish forces. Ankara is still actively supporting the remaining militants in the region, including those affiliated with al-Qaeda’s factions.