Turkey has launched Operation Spring Shield in Idlib, Syria, as its answer to Syrian President Bashar Hafez al-Assad's army's airstrike that has killed scores of Turkish soldiers.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar gave details of the operation. Turkey and Syria that share borders are at loggerheads as Syrian forces are fighting to recapture the Aleppo countryside and parts of Idlib. This has forced thousands of Syrians to feel towards the border raising security concerns over the Turkish border.
Reports claim that more than one million Syrians have migrated near the Turkish border due to continuous attacks and airstrikes.
On February 27, Syrian troops backed by the Assad regime carried out airstrikes that killed 34 Turkish soldiers and injured several others. In January too, Turkish troops were attacked. Since then, Turkey has pledged to take action against any such attacks.
According to Defense Minister Akar self-defense against soldiers supported by the Assad regime plotting to attack Turkish troops is the sole goal of Operation Spring Shield.
Akar said so far 2,200 troops working for the Syrian regime, one drone, eight helicopters, 103 tanks, howitzers and three air defense systems have been neutralized.
Turkish troops are in Idlib in Syria protecting civilians. Troops have been deployed in Syria as part of Turkey's deal with Russia signed in 2018 to prohibit any act of aggression by the Syrian regime against civilians. Troops have established a de-escalation zone around Idlib.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had even asked his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to stay out of Turkey's way in the fight against Assad forces.
This is the fourth military operation by Turkey in Syria. Earlier, on October 9, 2019, Turkey had launched Operation Peace Spring. This was aimed at getting rid of YPG terrorists to secure Turkey's borders. Turkey also carried out Operation Olive Branch to drive out YPG and Daesh terrorists from its borders in 2018 and Operation Euphrates Shield in the West of the Euphrates River in 2016.