Turkey Kills Over 30 Syrian Troops, Threatens More Attacks

NATO warns Syria, Russia against challenging Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared every Syrian government unit to be a legitimate target on Friday, after Turkish attacks overnight killed at least 31 Syrian soldiers in Idlib and Aleppo Provinces.

Turkey had launched an attempt to retake an observation post near Idlib city on Thursday, before being repelled by airstrikes, in which 34 Turkish troops were killed. The evening attacks were retaliation for this.

NATO is warning that the situation could escalate into a full-scale war, and their advice is for Syria and Russia to back down. There seems to be no interest in advising Turkey to stop picking fights.

Erdogan has spent the last several weeks threatening major escalations, and had pledged to retake Idlib Province by this week’s end. That seems clearly not going to happen, but Erdogan’s threats to keep picking up their attacks risk dragging Russia more deeply into the conflict.

Escalation is Turkey’s only strategy at this point, and while the US and NATO don’t seem interested in getting directly involved, they do seem to feel obligated to endorse what Turkey is doing.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.