BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:30 P.M.) – The Turkish-backed militants and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) continued to battle over the area surrounding Saraqib on Monday.
The town was recently recaptured by government forces after over seven years in militant hands.
On the ground, footage showed Turkish artillery close to the M5 highway targeting government positions in the area. Clouds of smoke can be seen rising in the distance.
One of the SAA officers said Turkish forces “tried to target some of the SAA points, but on the ground, there is nothing [that hasn’t influenced the facts], as the army is continuing its operations.”
The officer added that “the nasty [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, tries to boost the morale of terrorist groups.”
Later in the day, five Turkish soldiers were reportedly killed and as many injured when the SAA launched an offensive on the airport of Taftanaz.
Today’s announcement follows the death of six Turkish soldiers during an artillery bombardment on February 3, prompting a strong condemnation and retaliatory attacks from Ankara.