Turkey has shot down two Syrian war planes and destroyed 100 tanks as it launches a military offensive against the Moscow-backed Syrian regime after an airstrike that killed 34 of its soldiers. Turkish defence minister Hulusi Akar announced the operation – dubbed ‘Spring Shield’ – today and vowed that any attack on Turkish forces or observation posts in Idlib would be met with retaliation under the country’s right to self defence. Tensions between Ankara and Damascus were heightened on Thursday after the Assad regime targeted Turkish soldiers in Northern Syria. Turkey’s relationship with Moscow was also strained today as three Russian journalists were detained in Istanbul. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the country had ‘opened its doors’, causing an estimated 76,000 migrants to head for its borders with the EU, on Friday after criticisms of Syria from its EU allies were not forthcoming. The US expressed concern and a NATO meeting was also called. Greek police have fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowds and deny them entry to the 27-member bloc as Bulgaria deployed its army to patrol the country’s 118-mile frontier with Turkey. The EU said this afternoon it will hold an emergency meeting in… Read full this story
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