Turkey’s military shot down two Syrian government fighter jets over northwest Idlib, hours after forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad brought down a Turkish drone over the region.
In a Twitter post on Sunday, Turkey’s defence ministry said its forces struck two SU-24 aircraft in response to the downing of the drone.
Syria’s SANA news agency confirmed the aircraft were hit over northwestern Idlib province, but said no one was hurt in the attack. The pilots used parachutes and landed safely, it added.
The shoot-downs came as Turkey announced a full-scale military operation dubbed “Spring Shield” against Syrian targets.
The Syrian military’s Al-Nayrab airport, on the outskirts of Aleppo city’s centre, was hit by air strikes “making it out of service”, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency cited “local sources” as saying.
Syrian forces used the airbase for “attacks against the Turkish armed forces and civilians in Idlib”, the news report said.
“The regime’s range of action has been further restricted as the Al-Nayrab military airport has been made unusable,” sources were quoted as saying.
Amid the escalating tensions, the Syrian government closed the airspace over Idlib, with one official telling SANA any aircraft “that violates our airspace will be treated as a hostile flight that must be shot down and prevented from achieving its objectives”.