Idlib fighting: Turkey defence minister threatens to activate S-400 missiles against Russia

WION Web Team Turkey Feb 21, 2020, 12.45 PM(IST)

File photo: Idlib, Syria. Photograph:( AFP )

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The Turkish defence ministry has said that two of its soldiers were killed in the offensive with more than 50 Syrian soldiers killed in retaliation

The fighting in northwestern Syria has escalated with Turkey-backed rebels fighting Bashar al-Assad's Syrian government troops backed by Russia.

Also Read: Turkey, Russia discuss joint patrols option in Syria's Idlib

The Turkish defence ministry has said that two of its soldiers were killed in the offensive with more than 50 Syrian soldiers killed in retaliation.

The attack comes a day after Turkish President Erdogan warned of Turkish military offensive in Idlib.

Explained: Turkey's role in the Syrian civil war

Syrian forces, backed by Russia airpower mounted an offensive to capture the region. Tensions have mounted in the last three months with hostilities between Russia-backed forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Turkey-backed militias pressing for a state-controlled zone.

Syria's Idlib region, near the border with Turkey, is the last rebel-held area in the war-ravaged country amid the escalating tensions, Turkey's defence minister has now said that Turkey is not seeking face-off with Russia over Syria

The defence minister added that Turkey will activate the S-400 missiles that it got from Russia.

Erdogan and Putin had closely worked on the S-400 air-defense deal and energy deals which is now being overshadowed by the Idlib fighting.

Turkey said that it may receive receive US missiles over the constant threat in Syria.

The patriot system is often looked at as an equivalent to the S-400, any delivery of the patriot system would be difficult for Ankara especially after their purchase of the S-400s.

As the fighting continues over a half-million people have been uprooted from their homes in Idlib since the start of Syria's civil war in 2011, the country has never seen so many people displaced in such a short time.

Thousands of people, mostly women and children, are on the move, fleeing towards the Turkish border.

Three million people are now trapped in the Turkish camps along the border with Idlib. The United Nations has urged Turkey to admit the displaced people.