Turkey shoots down 3rd Syrian fighter jet in 3 days

The Turkish military downed a Syrian warplane on Tuesday, the third fighter jet shot down by Ankara in three days over heavily contested Idlib province.

Turkish forces said they “neutralized” more than 300 Syrian government troops and destroyed military equipment Tuesday. File Photo by Jayson Tufrey/Australian Defense Force

The Turkish Defense Ministry said the L-39 fighter was shot down during operations overnight that were part of a new offensive called Operation Spring Shield.

Turkey also said it “neutralized” 327 Syrian government troops and destroyed military equipment on Tuesday, including a drone, six tanks, five howitzers, two air defense systems and three armored combat vehicles.

State media reported the Syrian jet was shot down near Ma’aret al-Nu’aman in southern Idlib province while Syrian forces fought “armed terrorist organizations” in the area.

Sunday, Turkish forces shot down two Syrian warplanes at the start of Operation Spring Shield. The offensive began just days after a Syrian government airstrike last week killed 34 Turkish soldiers — the greatest military loss Ankara has faced there since 2016.

Turkey said both shootdowns were a response to the Syrian regime’s destruction of a Turkish drone. Damascus said it shot down three drones, arguing Turkey is using them to “provide a fire cover to the terrorists” in Idlib who are using shoulder-fired missiles to target Syrian and Russian military aircraft.

ByDon Jacobson