At least nine civilians have been killed in Idlib in northwestern Syria on March 3 in artillery fire by the Syrian regime. According to international news agency's war monitor, Turkey's fighter-jet downed a Syrian warplane over Idlib and killed its pilot. These attacks have come just a day after the Syrian government said that it is “determined to confront” the attacks by Turkish forces on its Russia-backed as the tensions between Ankara and Damascus escalate.
According to reports, the airstrikes by the Syrian regime were launched in an effort to regain control of a key town from the Turkish forces. Meanwhile, other Russian warplanes carried out several attacks on the frontline of the northwestern province including Fua village. Initial reports have suggested that nine civilians were killed and many others have been left injured. However, in the counter-attack by Turkey, the Syrian pilot was killed. In just three days, it was third such downing by the Turkish forces.
The tensions in Northern Syria started escalating earlier this month when the shelling by Syrian government forces killed eight Turkish nationals on its observation posts in Idlib. That attack was reportedly followed by Turkish attack on Syria which according to Erdogan killed 76 Syrian officials. It was few days after the attacks that the Turkish army reportedly started deploying in the disputed region as convoys of at least 150 trucks with Turkey's special forces were spotted at the Turkey-Syria border.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had also threatened to launch a military offensive in the disputed Idlib province if the regime forces do not withdraw behind the positions of the Turkish military. According to international media reports, while talking to his parliamentary group in Ankara, Erdogan warned the Syrian government that it was just a matter of time that the Turkish troops would launch an operation on Idlib.
Moreover, according to the Turkish President, a military offensive in Idlib is imminent and the officials are now making final warnings. While supporting several rebel groups in the region, Turkey also wants to put an end to the refugee influx in the country. However, Russia reacted to Erdogan's warning and Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov reportedly called it the worst scenario if the operation was meant to be against the Syrian forces.