Turkey retaliated against Syrian military before ceasefire began

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey staged an attack with a combat drone against Syrian government forces in Syria’s Idlib on Thursday before a ceasefire went into effect, destroying military equipment and “neutralising” soldiers, the Turkish defense ministry said.

It said the drone attack occurred around 4 p.m. (1300 GMT). Later in the day, Turkey and Russia agreed a ceasefire deal for northwest Syria’s Idlib region, which went into effect at midnight.

The Turkish ministry said early on Friday the drone attack destroyed two pieces of artillery, two multiple-rocket launchers and “neutralised” 21 Syrian government soldiers, a term commonly used to mean killed.

It said the attack followed an attack on Turkish forces.

On Thursday, two Turkish soldiers were killed and three were wounded when Syrian government forces opened fire on them in Idlib, the defense ministry said earlier.

Reporting by Samar Hassan and Daren Butler; Editing by Christian Schmollinger, Robert Birsel