BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:15 P.M.) – Turkish Defense Minister, Hulusi Akar, said that 2,557 elements of the Syrian Armed Forces were ‘neutralized’ in the framework of Operation “Spring Shield”, as well as destroying two fighters, 8 helicopters, two drones, 135 tanks and 5 air defense platforms.
Ankara has stepped up its attacks, including drone strikes against the Syrian Army, since Thursday, when 36 Turkish soldiers were killed in an air attack by Damascus.
Turkey had already deployed thousands of soldiers and military vehicles in Idlib, northwestern Syria, last month to halt the progress of the Syrian forces.
In response, the Syrian Army said it had shot down Turkish drones and warned that it would shoot down any drones or planes that violated Syria’s airspace over the northwestern part of the country.
Despite this warning, Turkish warplanes shot down two Syrian jets, while Anatolia News said that the Turkish Army targeted the Nayrab Airbase, west of Aleppo, and removed it from service.
On whether this operation may cause a direct clash between Russia and Turkey, Akar said, “We have no intention or conviction in confronting Russia.”