Analyst Metin Gürcan has said that the attack which killed 33 Turkish soldiers in Idlib on Feb. 27 was carried out by Russian and Syrian jets "in coordinated action." Basing his report on local sources, Gürcan also wrote that the death toll is higher than what was announced by Ankara. “According to unconfirmed information obtained by Al-Monitor, the actual death toll is somewhere between 50 and 55,” he wrote.
Former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has released a message from the prison over the death of 33 Turkish soldiers killed in Syria's Idlib, saying: “Let us not shout battle cries, but raise our voice for peace.”
The president of İGAM, an Ankara-based immigration think tank, has warned against possible cases of Alan Kurdi in the Aegean Sea if refugee crossings are to increase following Turkey's statement that it will no longer stop refugees from reaching Europe.
The U.N. Security Council will on Feb. 28 hold an emergency meeting on the latest developments in Syria. The meeting comes in the wake of the death of 33 Turkish troops in Idlib.
Finance Minister Albayrak has deleted his tweets praising Turkish economy following backlash from social media users. Albayrak's tweets came just hours after authorities announced that 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in Syria's Idlib, in one of the deadliest attacks on Turkish troops in the Republic's history.
Turkish President Erdoğan and his U.S. counterpart Trump on Feb. 28 discussed developments in Syria's Idlib in a phone call. "President Trump reaffirmed his support for Turkey’s efforts to de-escalate the situation in northwest Syria and avoid a humanitarian catastrophe," White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's advisor Mesut Hakkı Çaşın has said that Turkey fought Russia 16 times in the past and "will fight it again," after an attack by the Syrian army killed Turkish troops. Caşın pointed to Russia’s sizeable Muslim population and claimed that the country "will be shattered from inside” should an armed conflict break out between Moscow and Ankara.
Russian state television said on Feb. 27 Turkish military specialists in Syria's Idlib region were using shoulder-fired missiles to try to shoot down Russian and Syrian military aircraft. Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency refuted the claims, citing sources. Sources told Anadolu Agency that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) have never opened fire on Russian troops or planes.
The deaths of at least 33 Turkish soldiers in the Syrian rebel-held province of Idlib came only hours after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claimed that the tables were turning in Turkey's favor in Idlib on Feb. 27. In the meantime Russian and Turkish officials were holding meetings to break the impasse. Around 10 p.m. news broke on social media that a large number of Turkish soldiers were killed in an attack in Idlib. The official confirmation of the attack came at 11.50 p.m. from local governor of Hatay, however, in his first statement he said that nine Turkish soldiers were killed.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that the alliance provides support to Turkey and that the allies are looking for what further can be done. "The allies condemn the continued indiscriminate airstrikes by the Syrian regime and Russia in Idlib province," said Stoltenberg, calling on them "to stop their offensive to respect international law and to back UN-led efforts for a peaceful solution."
Christian Berger, the head of the EU's delegation to Turkey, extended the delegation's condolences to Turkey following the Syrian army attack on Turkish soldiers in Idlib. The European Council has called on all parties to put in place a sustainable ceasefire, guarantee the protection of civilians and fully implement their commitments under the Sochi Memorandum of 17 September 2018," Berger said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone on Feb. 28 to discuss the implementation of agreements on Syria's Idlib province amid mounting tension, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. The leaders also agreed to try to arrange a top-level meeting soon, Interfax reported.
Murat Yetkin writes: The Turkish government has been awaiting more support from the U.S. and NATO on the Syrian issue. Deploying Patriot missile systems in Turkey or utilizing the U.S. Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean could be forms of such support. Currently, a U.S. cruiser with missile firing capacity is in Black Sea. Ankara is angry, but raising tensions with Russia to a further level is also a source of concern.
Flocks of migrants have begun to move towards the Turkey-Greece border after Ankara decided to lift border crossings in anticipation of a new migration wave from Syria. This follows the killing of 33 Turkish soldiers by the Syrian regime in Idlib on Feb. 27.
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.