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Turkey said Sunday it was continuing a military operation against the Russian-backed Syrian regime in Syria's northwestern Idlib region but insisted it did not wish to clash with Moscow.
"Following the heinous attack on February 27 in Idlib, operation 'Spring Shield' successfully continues," Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said in a televised speech.
"We don't have the desire or intention to clash with Russia," the minister added. Thirty-four Turkish troops have been killed in Syria since Thursday. "Our intention is to stop the regime's massacres, and prevent… migration," he said.
"We expect Russia to stop the regime's attacks and to use their influence to ensure the regime withdraws to the borders of the Sochi agreement."
Syrias official news agency said that two of its warplanes were downed by Turkey in the airspace over the Idlib region on Sunday. The announcement came just after Syria said it was closing its airspace for flights and drones in the northwest of the country.
Turkey has 12 observation posts established in rebel-held Idlib following a 2018 deal between Ankara and Moscow signed in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
But the regime recently has pressed ahead with an assault, killing hundreds of civilians and forcing nearly a million to flee from their homes in the region.
Rebel-supporter Turkey and Damascus ally Russia previously worked closely to prevent a regime offensive in Idlib despite being on opposing sides of the nine-year war.