One Turkish soldier killed, two wounded in Syria’s Idlib

(Corrected with a statement from the Turkish Defence Ministry)

One Turkish soldier was killed and two were wounded in an attack on an armoured ambulance in Syria’s northwestern rebel enclave of Idlib, the Turkish Defence Ministry said on Friday.

Turkish forces identified targets in the area and immediately opened fire in retaliation, state-run Anadolu news agency quoted the ministry statement as saying.

Defence Minister Hulusi Akar expressed his condolences to Infantry Specialist Corporal Ercan Zengin, who was killed in the attack.

"On behalf of our hero martyr and members of the Ministry of National Defence, I wish God's mercy, condolences and patience to his grieving family and noble nation," Akar said.

The ministry did not say who was responsible for the attack and did not specify where it occurred.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights cited sources that reported on an explosion along the M4 highway near the town of Ariha, just after a joint Turkish-Russian patrol passed on Thursday.

“After the explosion, Turkish forces were seen in the area on high alert,” the Observatory said on Friday. “A joint patrol of Russian and Turkish forces had set off yesterday from Tarnabah village to Kafr Shalaya village in rural Idlib.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart President Vladimir Putin signed a ceasefire agreement in March to end fighting in Idlib between Turkish-supported rebel forces and Syrian government forces, which is backed by Russia. 

Turkish and Russian troops have been holding joint patrols as part of the deal, which aims to establish a security corridor stretching around 6 km north and south of the M4 highway that connects the towns of Latakia and Saraqeb.

The attack comes after Defence Ministry reported last Wednesday that a Turkish soldier was killed in an explosion on the M4 highway.