Turkey-Backed Rebels Kill 15 Syrian Troops Over Russian Airstrikes

Rebels say "response is ongoing"

On Monday, Russian warplanes attacked a rebel training camp in northern Syria run by Turkish-backed rebels, killing 78. Reports are that the rebels have responded by bombarding the surrounding area, killing 15 Syrian troops.

A spokesman for the rebels said retaliation began immediately after the strikes, and is to be considered “ongoing.” In addition to Idlib Province, where most happened, the surrounding provinces were also hit.

This likely reflects that the Russia-Turkey ceasefire in Idlib, in place since March, is finally collapsing outright. Turkey has been complaining for awhile they weren’t getting what they wanted, which is free rebel reign in Idlib, and Syria and Russia likely no longer believe a pretense of that control is warranted, with the rest of the country pretty much all recovered.

In the near term, rebel retaliation will probably continue, with Syria and Russia not wanting to turn on them and risk a bigger fight with Turkey, but Turkey’s threats and complaints will probably slow down in time, as they have before, at which point the rebels are vulnerable.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.