Syria to strike intruding Turkish warplanes in its airspace
The Syrian military has warned to intercept and bring down any Turkish fighter jets entering the country’s airspace, nearly a day after Turkish warplanes bombarded 18 positions of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria, and killed up to 200 Kurdish fighters.
“Any attempt to once again breach Syrian airspace by Turkish war planes will be dealt with and they will be brought down by all means available,” the Syrian army general command said in a statement on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, the Turkish army said its jets had conducted 26 airstrikes against YPG targets in Maarrat Umm Hawsh region north of the embattled northwestern Syrian city of Aleppo.
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported that between 160 and 200 YPG fighters were killed in the raids on Wednesday night.
It added that Turkish military aircraft destroyed nine buildings used as YPG headquarters, meeting points, shelters and weapons depots.
Takfiri militants preventing Aleppo evacuation
Meanwhile, Syria’s UN Ambassador Bashar al-Ja’afari said foreign-sponsored Takfiri terrorist groups in Aleppo are using civilians in the militant-held eastern flank of the city as human shields.
Ja’afari (seen below) told a UN General Assembly session on Thursday that the extremists are resorting to snipers and mortar shells in a bid to prevent civilians and gunmen from leaving the area despite a humanitarian truce.
The Syrian diplomat further noted that the Damascus government welcomes any meeting aimed at helping the Syrian nation in a fair manner.
The Syrian UN ambassador’s remarks were later echoed by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who said the Takfiris are preventing civilians from leaving the embattled areas of eastern Aleppo
Lavrov told his US counterpart John Kerry in a phone conversation on Thursday that the militants “are violating the ceasefire and preventing the evacuation of the population.”
The top Russian diplomat pointed out that the truce should give both civilians and armed men the opportunity to leave.
The humanitarian pause took effect on Thursday and will last three days as announced by the Syrian army.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu later said in a statement that the truce had been extended by a further day, and that Syrian authorities had agreed to the measure.
Earlier, Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Lieutenant General Sergei Rudskoi stated that there are six corridors in Aleppo for civilians and humanitarian aid deliveries, while two others are meant to be used by the militants in the city.
One of those corridors is in the direction of the Turkey-Syria border, while the other leads to the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib, located 59 kilometers southwest of Aleppo.
Both Russian and Syrian Air Force fighter jets stopped their bombing of militant-held neighborhoods in eastern Aleppo on Tuesday – two days ahead of the truce.
Rudskoi said Russian and Syrian military aircraft were deployed to an area at least 10 kilometers away from Aleppo during the truce, adding that the jets had not struck targets inside Aleppo since October 18.