Turkey Summons Iranian, Russian Envoys over Attacks on Syria's Idlib

Images purport to show damage to a Russian jet in Syria.   Joseph Dempsey via Twitter

The ministry reported earlier this month that 13 drones had been used in attempted attacks on two Russian military facilities in Syria on January 6.

Russia is also angered by attacks on the Russian naval base of Tartus and its air base at Hmeimim in Syria last week by drones which Moscow says were sent from Idlib province.

It added Russian forces fended off the attacks without receiving any damage.

Russia's ambassador to Ankara, Alexei Yerkhov and Iranian ambassador Mohammad Ebrahim Taherian Fard were called in to express Turkey's discontent over the continuing attacks in Idlib.

A statement by the Working Group for Syria, the umbrella group of 120 Syrian organizations, criticized Russia's military actions in Syria and urged the U.N.to boycott the meeting in Sochi.

It was the first time when terrorists applied a massed drone aircraft attack launched at a range of more than 50 km using modern GPS guidance system.

Just weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared victory in Syria, Russian military outposts in the country have come under rebel attacks that are challenging Moscow's gains. Many opposition groups are refusing to attend, citing increased Russian military interference.

It conveyed "uneasiness" to the Russian ambassador Tuesday, calling the strikes a "violation of the borders of the Idlib de-escalation zone" established by Turkey, Iran and Russia, according to sources at the foreign ministry.

She said the incidents were proof that "whoever conducted these attacks can still penetrate regime areas and impose costs on the Russians".

Compounding the suspicions, the ministry said in a statement on its Facebook page that a US Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft was in the skies above the area for four hours during the drone assault. Idlib, bordering Turkey, is the largest single chunk of Syria still under the control of rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad.

Most likely, the terrorists had received support from a "technologically advanced state", officials with the Russian Defense Ministry believe.

Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Russian Federation and Iran must fulfill their duties under a joint accord reached with Turkey a year ago in which the three countries announced a "de-escalation zone" in Idlib. "This merely emphasizes the need for stepping up political settlement efforts", the spokesperson said.



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