Turkey says 4 soldiers killed in Syria government shelling

Turkey’s defense ministry says at least four Turkish soldiers were killed and nine others were wounded in “intensive shelling” by the Syrian government forces in northern Idlib province

ANKARA, Turkey —
At least four Turkish soldiers were killed and nine others were wounded in “intensive shelling” on Monday by Syrian government forces in northern Syria, Turkey’s National Defense Ministry said.

The ministry said the shelling in Syria’s Idlib province took place despite prior notification of the coordinates of the Turkish forces that were sent to the province as reinforcements. It said Turkish forces responded to the attack.

The incident comes amid a Syrian government offensive into the country’s last rebel stronghold, located in Idlib and parts of the nearby Aleppo region. Turkish troops are deployed in some of those rebel-held areas to monitor an earlier cease-fire that was agreed to but that has since collapsed.

Relations between Turkey and Syria have deteriorated sharply since Syria’s civil war began in 2011. Syria accuses Turkey of undermining its security by allowing thousands of foreign fighters to come battle the Syrian army. Idlib province is currently dominated by al-Qaida-linked militants.