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Thu Feb 20, 2020, 08:07 PM

Turkish soldiers killed in Syria amid threats of escalation

Source: Associated Press

Turkish soldiers killed in Syria amid threats of escalation

By SUZAN FRASER and VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV
February 20, 2020

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Two Turkish soldiers were killed Thursday in an airstrike in northwestern Syria, Turkey said, after an attack by Ankara-backed opposition forces that targeted Syrian government troops. The deaths came after the Turkish president threatened to expand his nation’s involvement in Syria if another one of his troops were hurt.

At least 15 Turkish soldiers have been killed in Syria this month amid a crushing offensive by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces aimed at recapturing remaining opposition-held areas in the region.

Intent on halting the advance, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had vowed Feb. 12 to take military action “everywhere in Syria” if another Turkish soldier was killed or wounded.

The multiple front offensive has triggered the biggest single wave of fleeing civilians in Syria’s nine-year war, displacing nearly 1 million people who have rushed toward the Turkish border and are sheltering in tents or sleeping rough in harsh winter weather.

It has also risked completely shattering a fragile cooperation between Ankara and Moscow, which back opposing sides of the Syria war. Ankara has sent thousands of soldiers to northwestern Syria to try to stem the Syrian government advance on the province near the Turkish border, leading to the repeated flare-ups.

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Read more: https://apnews.com/a245ab41546b6dd77be773137da8e0c4

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