ANKARA, February 4. /TASS/. Turkish National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said his country had "eliminated" 76 Syrian servicemen in retaliation for the shelling of its troops in Syria’s Idlib governorate on Monday.
"Strikes were carried out at 54 targets of [Syrian President Bashar Assad’s] regime. According to information obtained from various sources, 76 servicemen of the regime have been eliminated to date," Turkey’s NTV channel quoted him as saying.
Akar claimed that on February 2, Turkey informed Russia twice about the movements of its troops in Idlib.
"Yesterday, at around 16:16 and 22:27, our colleagues gave this information to relevant personnel from the Russian side ," he said.
On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkish jets and artillery had carried out strikes against 40 targets in Syria’s Idlib in response to the shelling of its troops in the area of Saraqib. According to the NTV news channel, six soldiers were killed and nine others injured when their positions near Saraqib, Idlib province, came under fire. Ankara argues that the Syrian army had been notified of the positions the Turkish forces were taking in advance.
Earlier, the Russian center for reconciliation of the opposing parties in Syria said Turkish military personnel had come under an attack of Syrian troops in Idlib, because Turkey had failed to notify Russia about the movements of its troops in advance. The Syrian troops were firing on terrorists retreating to Saraqib.