Syria condemns Turkey over report on Latakia shelling
Damascus Tuesday slammed the government in Ankara over Turkey’s artillery fire on areas in Syria’s Latakia Province.
A source in the Syrian Foreign Ministry told the official news agency SANA that the artillery fire was “a blatant breach of international law.”
The source said Damascus “reserves the right to respond to this heinous crime with all available means,” which it said was “a crime against Syrian civilians.”
Reports early Monday said the Turkish military had fired rounds of artillery into areas in Jabal Atirah region, killing one Syrian soldier and injuring five other servicemen.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is affiliated to the so-called Syria opposition, confirmed the death of a pro-government soldier in the attack.
Turkish officials have yet to comment on the incident.
Russia, meanwhile, strongly criticized the shelling, saying Ankara, as a member of NATO, should swiftly provide clarification on the issue.
Russia’s Defense Ministry Spokesman General Igor Konashenkov said Moscow had obtained videos proving that Turkish forces routinely target areas in Latakia with artillery.
He said Russia was seeking a “speedy response and explanation” from NATO and Washington on Turkish actions.
Russia is at odds with Turkey over the conflict in Syria and has backed claims by Damascus that Turkey is overtly providing support to the militants from Syria’s ethnic Turkmens in Latakia who are fighting against the government of President Assad.
Turkey on January 30 claimed that Russian fighter jets had once again violated its territory, warning that the move could have repercussions similar to what happened in November 2015, when Ankara shot down a Russian Sukho jet near the Syrian border. That sparked an unprecedented row between Moscow and Ankara, leading to an array of sanctions imposed by Russia on trade and military cooperation with Turkey.