One Turkish soldier killed in explosion in Syria’s Idlib

(Updates with tweets, video footage and death announcement)

Turkey’s defense ministry has made an announcement of a Turkish soldier in Idlib, the rebel-held territory in northwest Syria.

Turkish Defense Ministry earlier also stated a number of Turkish soldiers were wounded in a roadside bomb explosion in the same region, Demirören news agency reported on Wednesday.

The explosion occurred as a Turkish military convoy passed by the strategic M4 highway, it said. 

At least 66 Turkish soldiers have been killed in Idlib this year.

Some of the injured soldiers are in critical condition.

Injured military personnel have been transferred to a hospital in Turkey’s southern city of Iskenderun, Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

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-backed rebel forces and the Syrian military, 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 (4 miles) north and south of the M4 highway that connects the towns of Latakia and Saraqeb.

“Russian air strikes are back in Idlib, northwest Syria,’’ wrote Liz Sly, Washington Post Beirut bureau chief covering Syria, on Twitter. “After what’s been coming down in Libya, it was only a matter of time. The Russian-Turkish ceasefire has lasted 2.5 months. How much longer?’’

Earlier on Wednesday, the Syrian Civil War Map, a website that monitors the ongoing situation in Syria and updates maps of the conflict, reported that Russian warplanes launched two raids on western Idlib’s Al-Ghassaniyeh village.

Turkish helicopters were headed towards the village of Al-Ghassaniyeh to evacuate the wounded soldiers, said Idlib-based Mahmoud Mosa in a Twitter post where he shared video footage of what he claimed was the aftermath of the explosion.