Deaths of Turkish soldiers in Syria airstrike prompts President Erdogan to hold emergency security meeting

Turkish-backed Syrian rebels enter the town of Saraqeb, in Idlib province Credit: Ghaith Alsayed/AP

More than 20 Turkish soldiers have been killed in an air strike by Syrian government forces.

Rahmi Dogan, the governor of Hatay, the Turkish province bordering Syria’s Idlib region, said 22 soldiers were killed on Thursday.

He said several seriously wounded troops were being treated in hospitals.

A total of 25 Turkish soldiers were killed in Syria on Thursday, with another three reported dead in a separate incident earlier in the day.

Turkey has been backing Syrian opposition fighters. Credit: AP

Thousands of Turkish soldiers are deployed inside rebel-controlled areas of Idlib province, which is dominated by al-Qaida-linked militants.

Turkey’s U.N. Ambassador Feridun Sinirlioglu told the Security Council on Thursday that Turkey was committed to upholding a fragile cease-fire agreement that Turkey and Russia reached on Idlib in 2018.

The Syrian government troops’ “deliberate attacks on our forces has been a turning point. We are now determined more than ever to preserve Idlib’s de-escalation status.”

Syria’s Defence Ministry said insurgents were using Turkey-supplied portable surface-to-air missiles to attack Syrian and Russian aircraft. It did not elaborate. Earlier this month, Turkish-backed opposition fighters shot down two helicopter gunships belonging to the Syrian military.

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