At least three Syrian soldiers have been killed and six wounded in a Turkish air raid on military posts in the Aleppo countryside, Syrian state news agency SANA quoted a military source as saying.
Syrian armed forces responded to Tuesday’s attack and caused material and human losses in some Turkish army positions and those of Turkey-backed opposition fighters, the official said, without giving any further details.
“Any attack on a military outpost run by our armed forces will be met with a direct and immediate response on all fronts,” SANA said.
The reported attacks took place near the town of Kobane, held by the United States-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the site of overnight clashes between the group and Turkish forces.
The SDF is largely made up of the YPG (People’s Protection Units) militia, which is regarded by Turkey as the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Turkey, the US, and the European Union have designated the PKK as a “terrorist” group.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said the Turkish raid killed 17 people, adding that it was not immediately clear if they were all Syrian soldiers. It said eight people were also wounded.
Hawar News, a news agency based in SDF-held areas of northern Syria, reported that 16 Syrian soldiers were killed, while another Kurdish news agency, North Press Agency, said 22 soldiers were killed.
Discrepancies in casualty figures immediately after attacks are not uncommon in Syria.
There was no immediate comment from Turkey.
In a separate incident, Kurdish forces also struck inside Turkish territory overnight, killing one soldier near the town of Birecik in the border province of Sanliurfa, Turkey’s defence ministry said.
“Thirteen terrorists were neutralised” in retaliatory attacks by Ankara inside Syria, the ministry said, adding that operations in the region were continuing.
Turkey has carried out three major cross-border military operations in northern Syria since 2016, seizing hundreds of kilometres of land and pushing some 30km deep into the country, mainly targeting the YPG.
Turkey has fervently opposed Bashar al-Assad, backing rebels calling for his removal and opening its doors to refugees.
But last week, Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called for reconciliation between the Syrian government and the opposition.
His comments were seen as an apparent easing of Ankara’s longstanding hostility towards al-Assad’s government and enraged the Syrian opposition and rebel groups.