June 13, 2019 / 12:11 PM / 2 months ago

Russia says Syrian rebels, not Syrian army attacked Turkish observation post

MOSCOW, June 13 (Reuters) - The Russian military said on Thursday that Syrian rebels had attacked a Turkish observation point in Syria’s Idlib province, a version of events at odds with Ankara which said the attack was mounted by the Syrian army.

Turkey’s Defence Ministry said earlier on Thursday that Syrian government forces had carried out what it assessed to be a deliberate attack, firing 35 mortar shells at one of its observation posts, wounding three Turkish soldiers and damaging equipment and facilities.

But Russia’s Ministry of Defence in a statement blamed “terrorists” based in Idlib for the attack and said the Turkish army had asked Moscow to ensure the safety of its personnel and to strike the rebel positions.

As a result, Russian war planes had carried out four air strikes against targets, the coordinates of which were provided by the Turkish military, the defence ministry said.

It said a large number of militants and artillery pieces had been destroyed in the strikes. (Reporting by Andrew Osborn Editing by Christian Lowe)

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