Russia vs Turkey: Putin’s £7million military plane shot down by Turkish backed forces

Initial reports suggest the aircraft was brought down by Syria’s Turkish-backed National Army. There are also reports that the revolutionary faction had destroyed two Syrian government tanks during violent clashes. The  developments come just a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned the launch of a new military operation in Idlib was only a matter of time. Russia and Turkey back opposing sides in the nine-year-old conflict.

Mr Erdogan told MPs in Ankara: “Turkey has completed preparations for the implementation of its plan on Idlib, just like we did with previous operations.

“Frankly speaking, an operation in Idlib is only a matter of time.

“Turkey won’t leave Idlib to the devices of the Assad regime.”

Tensions in Idlib have escalated further since Russian and Turkish efforts to ensure a ceasefire collapsed.

Syrian opposition forces supported by Turkey launched large-scale attacks on Syrian government troops last week, particularly on Saraqib and the Nayrab settlement.

The fighting also involved supporters of the Jabhat al-Nusra group which outlawed in Russia.

The Russian-backed Syrian government troops thwarted the attacks and Moscow said the militants suffered substantial losses.

Turkey and Russia have failed to reach an agreement after two rounds of talks in the last two weeks.

A Syrian government offensive to eradicate the last rebel strongholds in northwest Syria has led to some of the most serious confrontations yet between NATO member Ankara and Damascus, and prompted Turkey to send thousands of troops and convoys of heavy weapons to the border area.

Turkey has taken in about 3.7 million Syrian refugees since the war started and says it cannot handle any more over its border, which is now closed.

The United Nations says more than 900,000 people, mostly women and children, have fled their homes in Idlib since early December.

A Turkish official said recent talks with Russia had not been “completely without a result” and that the discussions had moved forward without reaching a final decision.

The official said: “Russia has maintained its position that Turkey withdraws from Idlib and evacuates its observation posts since the beginning.

“Withdrawing from Idlib or evacuating the observation posts is not on the agenda.”

“Various exercises are being discussed. For example, ensuring security through Turkish and Russian security officials and holding joint patrols could be possible.”


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