Turks Shoot Down 2 Syrian Su-24s in One Day, Turkish-Qaeda Offensive in Full Swing, Taking Ground From Syrian Army
A NATO military and al-Qaeda affiliate advancing shoulder to shoulder
Syria’s state-run news agency SANA:
A military source told SANA in a statement that at 13:25 pm on Sunday, Turkish air force intercepted two Syrian aircrafts and downed them over the Syrian territory while the two aircrafts were carrying out a mission against armed terrorist organizations in Idleb area.
The pilots used parachutes and landed safely, the source added.
The Syrian Su-24 strike aircraft were in Syrian airspace when they were shot down by Turkish F-16 fighters from Turkish airspace assisted by an AWACS plane.
اللحظات الأولى لاسقاط الطائرة الحربية سيخوي لعصابات الاسد في منطقة جبل الزاوية بريف ادلب. pic.twitter.com/ojGWNPcPTE
— حسن جنيد | Hasan Jneed (@Hasan_Jneed) March 1, 2020
🇹🇷🇸🇾 Un Su-24 del ejercito sirio parece haber sido derribado al sur de Idlib. pic.twitter.com/qoyeBhZLve
— Descifrando la Guerra (@descifraguerra) March 1, 2020
🇹🇷E-7 AEW&C is detected 3 Su-24s and alerted F-16 CAP in region.F-16 didnt lock on to Su-25s, its radar was off but fired 2 AIM-120C7 with radar data(Link 16) from E-7. So Su-24s couldn't notice radar lock. E-7 assisted C7 till its own radar active in last seconds. @hkilichsword https://t.co/ANa9TeSfu0
— Kevin Sky🎖️𐱅𐰇𐰼𐰜 𐰶𐰃𐰯𐰲𐰴 (@EmirLouise) March 1, 2020
This is taking place in conjunction with a Turkish-rebel attack on the southern front of the Idlib enclave that is so far advancing at a decent pace. This is sparsely populated mountainous terrain, so not exactly prime real estate. And it is progressing against an un-entrenched Syrian army seeing the government side had only wrestled control of this terrain days ago. Nonetheless, the setback for Damascus is real and its military is for the second time in a week being pushed back, which had not happened before since something like 2017.
Say what you will about Erdogan but he has kept his threat that come March 1 comes war. There is no other word for it, Turkey and Syria are at war. When their February-end deadline for Syrian withdrawal from their own territory expired the Turks officially launched “Operation Peace Spring”, an invasion of Syria to restore Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s (HTS) control to territories they held before the Syrian army advances of the past two months.
HTS is a jihadi coalition that was forged by its dominant force, Jabhat al-Nusra (later renamed to Jabhat Fateh al Sham). Nusra is an offshoot of ISIS which after a dispute with the parent organization then declared allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama’s former number two, and current leader of al-Qaeda.
I don’t think a NATO army has ever fought in such a close association with bin Ladenites. Even in Libya the cooperation was not quite this close.