Syrian opposition downs regime helicopter in Idlib

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Turkish-backed Syrian opposition forces have downed a helicopter believed to belong to the Syrian government in northwestern Syria’s Nairab town, Turkish state broadcaster TRT Haber reported on Tuesday, as clashes continued in the region.

TRT Haber did not provide any further details. The incident comes a day after Syrian regime forces killed five Turkish soldiers in northwestern Syria, prompting retaliation from the Turkish troops in the region.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the death of the helicopter’s pilots.

Syrian government forces fired near Turkey’s observation posts in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province on Tuesday, prompting retaliation from Turkish forces, a Turkish official told Reuters.

Syrian opposition factions could regain territory they have lost in recent days around the town of Seraqib, to the east of Idlib city, after they launched a full-fledged attack there, the official added.

All crew members were killed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Syrian government offensive in Idlib, the last major enclave of opposition to President Bashar al-Assad, has driven more than half a million people from their homes towards the closed Turkish border, threatening a new humanitarian crisis.

Turkey, which already hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees, says it cannot absorb any more and has demanded Damascus pull back in Idlib by the end of the month or face Turkish action.

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