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    Turkish Ministry of Defence: "our fire support vehicles immediately fired back on the syrian targets, the necessary response was given | Photo: Reuters

Published 10 February 2020

The exchange comes after a Russian delegation held the second round of talks in the Turkish capital, Ankara, to discuss the fighting in Idlib province

The Turkish army retaliated to an "intense" bombing by Syrian forces that killed five of its soldiers and injured five others on Monday in Syria's northern province of Idlib.

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Syrian Military Kills 5 Turkish Soldiers in Idlib: Turkey

The Turkish presidency's director of communications, Fahrettin Altun, said that "after the attack by Syrian forces, there was an equivalent response. Enemy targets were immediately destroyed, and the blood of our martyrs was avenged," he said.

In a statement, the Turkish Ministry of Defence said, "our fire support vehicles immediately fired on the targets with intensity, and the necessary response was given."

The statement did not say where the attack took place, but press reports said it was in Taftanaz, where Turkish troops were allegedly trying to establish a base.

A later statement from the Ministry said the retaliation was in line with Turkey's rules of engagement and its right to self-defense.

At least 115 Syrian positions were targeted in the retaliatory attacks, the Ministry said, adding that more than 100 Syrian forces were "neutralized."

The recent engagements led to the collapse of a fragile ceasefire negotiated by Turkey and Russia in 2018.

Turkey supports the Syrian rebels, while Russia actively supports the Syrian government's campaign to retake the area, which is Syria's last rebel stronghold.

On the other hand, a U.N. official said the number of people displaced by the violence since Dec. 1 had reached nearly 700,000, compared to 600,000.

"That's more than 100,000 people in just over a week," said U.N. regional spokesman David Swanson.

"This could be the largest number of people displaced in a single period since the Syrian crisis began almost nine years ago," Swanson said, reiterating the call for an immediate truce.

The fighting has prompted Turkey to send hundreds of vehicles and military troops to Idlib province last week, leading to a confrontation between the two countries' forces.

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