Turkey Shoots Down Syrian Warplanes, Kills Hundreds of Syrian Troops

Erdogan says major Turkish attacks 'just the beginning'

Turkish forces have shot down a pair of Su-24 fighter jets belonging to the Syrian government, and launched a flurry of major offensives across northern Syria, claiming to have killed massive numbers of Syrian soldiers.

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said 2,200 Syrian troops were killed, while an analyst suggested that a few hundred were the more likely toll. This is being presented as retaliation for 36 Turkish troops killed in airstrikes.

And that’s just the last few days. President Erdogan declared in a meeting of his ruling party that this is “just the beginning” of Turkey’s full military operation against the Syrians, insisting Syria must withdraw from the border area.

Erdogan’s bellicose proclamations are nothing unusual, and he makes such threats to Syria several times a week. The Syrian government is almost certain to try to retain control of Idlib, even in the face of a Turkish offensive, and Russia is likely to continue backing Syria in that.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.