By Hamdi Celikbas
ANKARA (AA) - Two Turkish soldiers were martyred in an attack by Assad regime forces in Idlib, northwestern Syria, the country’s National Defense Ministry said early Thursday.
Turkey retaliated for the attack with full force and 114 regime targets were heavily struck and destroyed, the ministry said in a series of tweets.
According to various sources in the region, three tanks were seized and an air defense missile system and one Zu-23 anti-aircraft gun as well as other vehicles were destroyed, the ministry added.
Syria has been mired in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN figures.
Idlib, near Turkey's southern border, falls within a de-escalation zone laid out in a deal between Turkey and Russia in late 2018.
The Syrian regime and its allies, however, have consistently broken the terms of the ceasefire, launching frequent attacks inside the territory, where acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
The de-escalation zone is currently home to around 4 million civilians, including hundreds of thousands displaced in recent years by regime forces throughout the war-torn country.
Some 1 million Idlib refugees have moved towards the Turkish border in recent months, fleeing attacks by the Assad regime and its allies, which caused a desperate humanitarian situation.
Turkey has called for an immediate halt to the attacks on Idlib and for the ceasefire to be followed, warning that if the attacks do not stop, Turkey will act.