The war in Syria, which has claimed more than 350,000 lives, is entering a new round of escalation before the meeting of the presidents of Russia and Turkey Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
According to Al Arabiya, on Sunday, Turkish forces opened fire on a helicopter of the Russian Aerospace Forces, carrying out a mission on the outskirts of the Al-Hasakah province in the north of Syria.
The helicopter was able to avoid being hit by a missile by shooting heat traps that blind infrared guidance systems.
Hawar News reports, citing its sources, that two Russian helicopters came under fire near the village of al-Dardara, near the Russian military base, where the helicopters were allegedly headed. The helicopters responded with fire on the positions of the Turkish-backed forces and had to leave the area.
Russian aircraft for the second day in a row carried out raids in northern Syria, where the last stronghold of resistance to the forces of the of Bashar al-Assad remains. 7 people were killed and 11 injured by airstrikes north of Aleppo on Sunday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
A new offensive by the Syrian army has attracted attention in Ankara. According to Bloomberg, Turkey has decided to send an additional contingent of several thousand soldiers to the Idlib area to show determination to hold its ground and prevent an increase in the flow of refugees trying to escape the war.
Erdogan intends to discuss Syria with Putin during a meeting on September 29, sources in Ankara told Bloomberg. In March 2020, the presidents of Russia and Turkey agreed on a truce and delineated the zones of influence, the borders of which have remained stable for the past year and a half.
But now Putin seems to be raising the stakes. Last week, he held a meeting with Bashar al-Assad in the Kremlin, where he said the presence of foreign troops in Syria without Syrian government’s approval was a "key issue."
Erdogan, in turn, continues to declare non-recognition of the annexation of Crimea, and the elections to the Russian State Duma that took place on the peninsula. "We consider it important to preserve the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, including the territory of Crimea," he said, speaking at the UN General Assembly.
Russia responded in the usual manner, quickly detecting viruses and bacteria in Turkish vegetables and fruits and hinting at the possibility of banning their import into the country.
On Friday, the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary, Rosselkhoznadzor, said it found cases of infection with dangerous pathogens in fruits and tomatoes supplied from Turkey to Russia.