Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said that the attack on Turkish troops in Idlib were carried out despite coordination with Russia, adding that "even ambulances were hit in these airstrikes." Refuting Russia's claims, Akar said that there were no armed groups present around Turkish troops at the time of the attack.
Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will submit a motion to hold a closed session March 3 with Defense Minister Hulusi Akar informing deputies of recent developments in Idlib. Some 33 Turkish soldiers were killed by the Syrian army, raising the death toll of Turkish nationals in Idlib this month to 54.
A group of people on early Feb. 28 protested outside the Russian Consulate General in Istanbul against an attack that targeted Turkish troops in northwestern Idlib, Syria. “The whole world knows that Russia and [Syrian] regime forces were behind the attack,” said Sezgin Çelik, one of the protesters.
NATO ambassadors are set to meet on Feb. 28 to hold consultations about developments in Syria under Article 4 of the alliance's treaty at Turkey's request, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, after the killing of 33 Turkish soldiers in a Syrian air strike in the Idlib region. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu spoke to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg by phone late on Feb. 27.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar visited Syrian border on Feb. 28, following a hectic night of events in the country's Idlib province. Akar and the top commanders also visited Hatay State Hospital to see the soldiers wounded in the attack.
Russia on Feb. 28 said it was sending two warships armed with cruise missiles to waters off the Syrian coast and blamed Ankara for the killing of 33 Turkish soldiers in Syria's Idlib region the previous day. "Turkish military who were in the terrorist units’ battle formations came under Syrian troops’ fire near the inhabited community of Behun on Feb. 27," the ministry said.
At least 33 Turkish soldiers have been killed in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib, in largest death toll in a single day, the governor of Turkey's southern Hatay province said late on Feb. 27. The casualties bring the number of Turkish soldiers killed in Idlib this month to 54.
Russia's Defense Ministry late on Feb. 27 accused Turkey of violating the Sochi agreement by supporting rebels in the Idlib de-escalation zone with artillery fire and drone strikes against the Syrian government army. The ministry's comments came shortly after Turkish and Russian officials ended their third round of talks in Ankara.
Saudi Arabia's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir asked why Turkey did nothing to stop the hit team that killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi if it knew about the murder plan as it had the consulate building bugged.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that three Turkish soldiers were killed in Syria's Idlib, adding that developments there are turning in Ankara's favor. "Our battle will continue. We are saying that we're in Idlib as per the Adana Agreement," Erdoğan said, referring to an agreement signed in 1998 by Turkey’s then-President Süleyman Demirel and Syria’s then-President Hafez al-Assad.
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has denied reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will meet in Istanbul on March 5. "President Putin has other work plans for March 5," he said. AKP spokesperson Ömer Çelik commented on Kremlin's remarks, saying that a date that would suit both leaders can be worked on.
The Pentagon has said that it has no intent nor plans to deploy troops to Syria-Turkey border. The four-star reiterated that while the tangible components of ISIS have been destroyed, the organization remains operational. “We know that ISIS, the caliphate, the physical entity, has been eliminated, but we also know that ISIS as an organization has not yet been destroyed,” Washington Times cited Milley as saying.
Syrian rebels backed by the Turkish military have recaptured the strategic town of Saraqeb, the first significant reverse for the Syrian army in a Russian-backed offensive that had made swift gains, the rebels said on Feb. 27.
Two Turkish soldiers have been killed in an air strike in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib, marking the 18th military death for Turkey this month.
Russia has accused Turkey of helping foreign fighters cross into Libya, days after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan admitted that Ankara sent Syrian rebels to the North African country. Bogdanov added that Moscow did not see evidence that Libya’s warring factions were prepared to implement military and political decisions reached at a conference in Berlin on Jan. 19.