Turkish Outpost in Syria Shelled From Syrian Government Forces Area

ISTANBUL (Reuters) -
Plumes of smoke rise from a location, said to be Khan al Subul, Idlib province, Syria, targeted in a strike, May 28. (White Helmets via Reuters)

A Turkish observation post in Syria’s Idlib region was attacked with mortar fire and shelling from an area controlled by Syrian government forces, causing damage but no casualties, the Turkish Defense Ministry said on Sunday.

The ministry said its forces immediately retaliated with heavy weapons and communicated with Moscow over the incident.

It did not specify when the shelling occurred, but said the attack was launched from what it named the Tall Bazan area and that it was assessed to be deliberate.

Russia, which supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his country’s civil war, and Turkey, long a backer of the rebels, co-sponsored a de-escalation agreement for the area that has been in place since last year.

But the deal has faltered in recent months, forcing hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee.

On Thursday, Russia and Syria gave sharply conflicting accounts of a previous attack on a Turkish outpost.

Turkey blamed Syrian government forces for that earlier attack but Moscow said it was carried out by Assad’s rebel enemies. Russia said on Wednesday that a full ceasefire had been put in place in the area, but Turkey denied this.