A joint Turkish-Russian patrol in Syria’s southern Idlib came under attack Tuesday with reports of casualties, leading to Russian airstrikes on areas of Latakia province held by jihadist factions.
The roadside bomb exploded close to the Turkish and Russian convoy in Ariha, southern Idlib, on the M4 highway, part of joint patrols of a de-escalation zone.
The Russian defence ministry stated that three soldiers were injured in the car bombing and an armoured vehicle was damaged.
Turkish sources told Reuters that none of its soldiers were hurt in the attack but an armoured vehicle was damaged, despite Russian claims of Turkish casualties. The injured soldiers were taken to the Russian Hmeimim airbase for treatment and the patrol was called off, while military equipment and troops were withdrawn from southern Idlib.
There have been periodic bombings and clashes in the area blamed on breakaway jihadist factions, who oppose the presence of Turkish and Russian troops in the area.
Assaults by the Hurras Al-Din and allied jihadist groups on regime positions over the past month have threatened to end a tense ceasefire in the area, agreed by Turkey and Russia in March.
Jihadist group Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, which controls much of Idlib province, have also clashed with the new coalition.
Russia launched airstrikes on the Kabani area of northern Latakia, where Hurras Al-Din fighters are said to be present.
A devastating Russian-backed offensive on Idlib province in December killed hundreds of civilians and forced 1 million people to flee their homes for the Turkish border.
The bombing targeted the Russian and Turkish soldiers that have been patrolling southern Idlib as part of a ceasefire deal.