Pro-Assad Source: Turkish Attacks in Syria Kill Hizbullah Personnel
Turkey, using missiles and drones in coordinated strikes late Friday, killed nine members of the Lebanese Shi’ite group Hizbullah, according to a source identified by the Reuters news agency as a commander of forces fighting on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The attack was aimed at the Hizbullah headquarters near the northwestern Syrian town of Sarqeb, the source said. Anti-Assad rebels backed by Turkey claimed on Thursday to have wrested control of Sarqeb from government units that had retaken it as part of an offensive in Idlib Province begun in December. Idlib is one of the last remaining rebel strongholds in a country that has been wracked by civil war since March 2011. Late on Thursday, Syrian government forces staged an air strike that killed dozens of Turkish troops in the area. On Friday, Ankara announced that 33 of its soldiers had been killed, with others being seriously wounded. Turkey has been active in Syria to both blunt the movement of further refugees toward its border and push Syrian Kurdish rebels away from the frontier, blaming them for providing assistance to an outlawed Kurdish group inside Turkey that is seeking autonomy.