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Syria State Media: Turkish Forces Target 2 Syrian Planes

A Turkish military convoy is seen moving through eastern Idlib province, Syria, Feb. 28, 2020.
A Turkish military convoy is seen moving through eastern Idlib province, Syria, Feb. 28, 2020.

Syrian state media (SANA) said on Sunday that Turkish forces targeted two Syrian planes over the Idlib region.

SANA reported pilots landed safely and got out of the warplanes in parachutes.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said the two jets went down over regime-held territory, likely after being targeted by Turkish F-16 planes.

Turkey's Defense Ministry said the planes were targeted after one if its aerial drones was downed.

The Syrian government announced it was closing its airspace for any flights or drones across the country's northwest.

Syria's military said aircraft that try to enter Syrian airspace are expected to be treated with hostility and “shot down.”

“Any jet that violates our airspace will be treated as a hostile target that must be shot down and prevented from achieving its goals,'' the Syrian military statement said

Syria's Idlib province is part of the last remaining Syrian territory held by Turkey-backed rebels. In February, 55 Turkish soldiers died in the area.

The latest confrontations in Syria come amid increased tensions between Turkey and Russia-- the countries that support opposite sides of the Syrian civil war.

On Sunday, Turkey's defense ministry said though the country is "successfully" continuing its military operation in northwestern Syria against the Russian-backed regime in Damascus, the Turkish government does not "desire or intention to clash with Russia."

Via Operation Spring Shield

Turkish military forces disclosed an intensification of their Operation Spring Shield military operation after 34 Turkish soldiers were killed in a Syrian air strike in the Idlib region.

"Following the heinous attack on February 27 in Idlib, Operation Spring Shield successfully continues. … We don't have the desire or intention to clash with Russia,” Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said, according to state news agency Anadolu.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on February 29 that he spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone conversation saying that Moscow should let Turkey deal with the Syrian government forces.

The continuous fighting in northwest Syria triggered a humanitarian debacle and reports say the single largest wave of displacement in the nine-year Syrian civil war.

The United Nations said Sunday about 13,000 people traveled to Turkey's border with Greece, after Turkey officially announced its borders were open to migrants and refugees hoping to make their way into the European Union.

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