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Turkey Downs Two Syrian Fighter Jets As Tensions Rise In Northwestern Syria

Syria closes airspace over Idlib Province • Turkish Defense Ministry: Warplanes downed in response to downing of a Turkish drone • Turkish strikes in Idlib kill nine Hezbollah fighters, wound 30.

Turkish forces shot down two Syrian fighter jets over northwest Idlib on Sunday, just hours after Syrian regime forces downed a Turkish drone over the region, according to the Turkish Defense Ministry. The incident comes amid direct clashes between Turkey and Syrian regime forces in northwestern Syria in recent days.

The Turkish Defense Ministry announced on Twitter that its forces had downed two SU-24 fighters “belonging to the regime that attacked our aircraft.” Syria’s state-owned SANA news agency confirmed the fighters had been hit over Idlib, saying that the pilots had ejected from the aircraft and landed safely.

On Saturday, a Syrian commander allied with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Turkish strikes in northwest Syria on Friday had killed nine Hezbollah members and wounded 30, according to Reuters. The commander said the Turkish strikes had targeted Hezbollah headquarters near the city of Saraqeb in Idlib using smart missiles and drones, according to the report.

At least 300 Syrian soldiers were killed in Turkish strikes on 200 Syrian army targets on Friday, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told Turkey’s Anadolu Agency.

The Turkish strikes in Idlib came after 33 Turkish soldiers were killed last week in a Syrian government attack in Idlib Province.

Hezbollah listed the names and pictures of eight of its fighters, including an Iranian cleric identified as Sayyed Ali Zengani, the AP reported on Saturday.

The statement said they “were martyred while performing their jihadi duties.”

More than a thousand Hezbollah fighters have been killed in Syria, according to the report.

Written by Saul Levine

Saul Levine is a contributor to The Schpiel.

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