Late Thursday, at least 33 Turkish soldiers were martyred and dozens of others injured in an airstrike by Assad regime forces in the Idlib de-escalation zone, just across Turkey’s southern border.
The soldiers in question are working to protect local civilians under a 2018 deal with Russia under which acts of aggression are prohibited in the region.
Aerial images taken by drones early Friday show the moment Turkish forces hit Assad regime targets from ground and air, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
The images also show regime armored vehicle convoys, moving elements, headquarters, and arsenals.
Thursday night’s attack was one of a series since January on Turkish troops, with Turkish officials keeping their pledge that such assaults would not go unanswered.
In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
But more than 1,300 civilians have been killed in attacks by the regime and Russian forces in the zone since then, as the cease-fire continues to be violated.
The de-escalation zone is currently home to four million civilians, including hundreds of thousands displaced in recent years by regime forces throughout the war-torn country.
More than 1.7 million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to intense attacks.
Since the eruption of the bloody civil war in Syria in 2011, Turkey has taken in some 3.7 million Syrians who fled their country, making it the world’s top refugee-hosting country.