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Regime attack kills five Turkish soldiers in Syria's Idlib

The Turkish defence ministry said another five soldiers were wounded in the attack that took place in Taftanaz in Idlib province where Turkey has vowed to block regime incursions.

Syrian regime forces killed five Turkish soldiers and wounded five more on Monday in an attack on a Turkish military post in Syria's flashpoint Idlib province, Turkish defence ministry said.

Regime attack took place in Taftanaz in Idlib, where Turkey has vowed to bock the regime incursions.  

Another five soldiers were wounded in the "intense assault that targeted our elements sent as reinforcement to the region with an aim to prevent clashes in Idlib, ensure our border security and stop migration and human tragedy," the ministry said in a statement.  

"The developments are closely watched and the necessary measures are being taken," the statement added.

Turkey-Russia talks

This is the second such incident in a week after seven Turkish military personnel were killed in regime shelling in Idlib last Monday, provoking Turkish response in which more than 70 regime members were eliminated. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar immediately convened a meeting following the attack, local channel NTV reported.

Turkey retaliated and destroyed all enemy [regime] targets, Turkey's Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said.

"The war criminal, who ordered today's heinous attack, targeted the entire international community, not just Turkey," he said.

The attack comes as a Russian delegation is in Ankara since Saturday for talks on Idlib, another round of which is in progress. 

Saraqeb fighting 

Ankara has sent major reinforcements to Idlib region –– the last major enclave of opposition to regime leader Bashar al Assad –– where the regime offensive and its ceasefire violation has driven more than 700,000 people from their homes since December, towards the closed Turkish border.

Meanwhile, a rebel source said Syrian regime forces had shelled the Turkish military base at Taftanaz, and witnesses said Turkish helicopters flew into northwest Syria to evacuate the wounded.

Turkey, which already hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees, says it cannot absorb any more and has demanded Damascus pull back in Idlib by the end of the month or face Turkish action.

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