ANTAKYA, Turkey – Rahmi Doğan, Governor of Hatay Province in southeastern Turkey, stated early in the morning on Friday that the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) had killed 33 Turkish soldiers and wounded 32 others in an airstrike.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned that Turkey would launch a comprehensive attack to expel Syrian government forces unless they withdrew beyond the Turkish observation points it had established throughout the province. He also held an urgent meeting on Thursday evening to discuss the attack which increased the death toll of the Turkish army to 54 this month, according to Turkish reports.
In Erdoğan’s attempt to put pressure on the European Union to interfere in its confrontation in Idlib, a senior Turkish official stated that his country, which faces a new batch of Syrian immigrants, and whose numerous soldiers were killed in Idlib, would no longer prevent Syrian refugees from passing to Europe.
On Friday, there have been numerous reports of Syrian refugees being provided free transportation to the Greek and Bulgarian borders with Turkey.
The consequences of killing the Turkish soldiers in Idlib also had a negative effect on the Turkish Lira which decrease by 0.2% against the U.S. Dollar markets opened today. The Lira has dropped more than 4% this year against the U.S. Dollar.
Social media in Turkey was shut down soon after the air strikes, presumably in an attempt to obfuscate its losses. Many social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, were no longer available through the Turkish telecommunications company “Turk Telecom” and other telecommunications companies.