The Turkish side cannot count on the safety of its combat aviation in northern Syria, stated the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria, after Turkey shot down two Syrian fighter jets over Idlib.
"The command of the Russian troops cannot guarantee the safety of Turkish aviation in the skies of Syria," the head of the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria, Rear Admiral Oleg Zhuravlev, said, as quoted by TASS.
"Amid a sharply aggravated situation, the Syrian government closed the airspace in the northwest of the country, including Idlib,” he said.
Turkey's Defense Ministry launched an operation in Idlib on Sunday, saying its aim would be to retaliate against the Syrian army for the deaths of more than 30 of its soldiers. Syrian forces leading the offensive in the province are backed by Russia.
On Saturday, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged President Vladimir Putin "not to stand in the way" of Turkey’s military in Syria. The Kremlin responded that “Russia is the only state whose armed forces deployed in Syria legally”.
Damascus admitted that two of its warplanes had been shot down by Turkish troops. The Turkish Armed Forces explained that they acted in self-defense.