No casualties in attack on Turkish observation post in Syria’s Idlib region: report

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Armoured vehicles of Turkish and U.S. troops are seen as they begin their first round of joint patrols in the northern Syrian city of Manbij, as part of a deal to rid the area of the YPG militia, on November 1, 2018 in Manbij, Syria. AFP PHOTOS

A Turkish observation post in the Idlib region of northern Syria was attacked by mortar fire launched from territory controlled by Syrian government forces, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday, adding that there were no casualties, Reuters reported. 

The ministry said a Russian representative in the region had “immediately intervened” to stop the attacks but warned that it had completed preparations to “give the necessary response” if the attacks continued. 

There have been similar attacks on Turkish observation posts in the region recently. One Turkish soldier was killed and three others were wounded in an attack on Thursday that the ministry judged to have been deliberate. 

Russia, which supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his country’s civil war, and Turkey, long a backer of those rebelling against him, co-sponsored a de-escalation agreement for the area that has been in place since last year. The accord has faltered in recent months, forcing hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee. Idlib is the last remaining bastion for anti-government rebels after eight years of civil war.

Earlier on Saturday, President Tayyip Erdoğan said he had discussed the attacks on Turkey’s observation posts in talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan. 

“We hope these attacks will no longer happen. There’s calm right now. We never want them, it shouldn’t happen again. We discussed them,” Erdoğan told a news conference at the summit. 

“The presence of these observation posts is to protect Idlib and the region. We will remain sensitive about this until the end,” he said.

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