Turkish military specialists in Syria’s Greater Idlib region are attempting to shoot down Russian and Syrian warplanes with man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADs), the Rossiya 24 TV revealed on February 27.
In a report, the state-run channel said that Russian and Syrian aircraft are taking counter-measures after carrying out airstrikes on Greater Idlib in order avoid Turkish missiles.
“Syrian and Russian planes are stopping the rebels again and again. But the sky above Idlib is also dangerous. The rebels and Turkish specialists are actively using portable air defense systems,” the channel said, according to Reuters.
Aside from employing air-defense systems, Turkish artillery are also providing Greater Idlib militants with fire support, according to Rossiya 24.
Following the Russian report, a Syrian military source confirmed to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) that Turkish personnel are the ones using MANPADs in Greater Idlib. The source also confirmed that the militants are receiving fire support from Turkish forces.
A day earlier, two Syrian warplanes, one of which an L-39, dodged two anti-aircraft missile while carrying out airstrikes on Greater Idlib.
Rossiya 24’s report was not a surprise. Earlier this month, a pro-opposition news agency shared a video showing the launch of a U.S.-made Stinger missile from a Turkish post in southern Idlib at a Russian Su-24 warplane.
These hostile acts by Turkish forces in Greater Idlib could eventually lead to a direct military confrontation with the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), or even Russian forces.