Air strikes target area near Turkish observation post in Syria’s Idlib

Air strikes have hit an area near a Turkish observation point in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib, where the Russian-backed Syrian regime is waging an offensive against rebel fighters, Reuters news agency reported on Wednesday.

It is not immediately clear whether Turkey’s observation post in the town of Sheir Magher was targeted in the attack, the news agency said, citing a senior Turkish security source. However, no Turkish soldiers were affected in the strike, the source said.

The incident follows an attack on another Turkish observation post less than a week ago. Syrian regime jets on August 22 fired heavy machine guns near the observation point in Maarat al-Numan in southeastern Idlib.

Following months of heavy bombardment, the Russian-backed forces of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad launched an offensive earlier this month in Idlib, the last major rebel-held region in the war-torn country.

Ankara and Moscow had agreed in September 2018 to establish a de-escalation zone in Idlib to prevent a possible offensive by Syrian forces against the last major rebel-held enclave in the country.

The Turkish military established 12 observation posts in the region as part of the deal.

Moscow has accused Ankara of failing to fulfil its part of the deal, which specified that jihadist groups deemed as extremists should be removed from the de-escalation zone.

Wednesday’s bombardment follows a visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday to Moscow, where he discussed Idlib, among other topics, with Russian President Vladimir Putin.