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Turkey Deploys US-Made Air Defense System in NW Syria

Turkey Deploys US-Made Air Defense System in NW Syria

Sunday, 29 March, 2020 - 08:00
Turkish military patrol near Saraqeb on the Aleppo-Lattakia road (AFP)

The Turkish Army, for the second time since the death of 36 of its soldiers in an airstrike on Idlib, Syria, on February 27, deployed a US-made air defense system to the northwestern Syrian province.

Citing “military news sites”, Turkish media reported that Turkey deployed the US-made MIM-23 HAWK medium-range surface-to-air system to Idlib, where tensions have been on the rise in the last few weeks. Turkish media circulated video footage showing a convoy transferring the system into Syria.

Deploying the MIM-23 HAWK system, according to Turkish media, means that the Turkish Army will no longer need to depend on fighter jets and drones to down Syrian regime fighter jets.

In details revealed by the footage, on Friday noon, five convoys of Turkish forces entered the Syrian territories from the Kafrlossen crossing, and one of them was transferring the US-made MIM-23 HAWK air defense system.

One convoy headed towards the western countryside of Aleppo, while others continued on their way to southern and eastern territories of Idlib.

“The MIM-23 HAWK system is considered one of the medium air defense systems, and it has the ability to destroy aircraft flying at an altitude of up to 18 kilometers,” a local Syrian dissident told Asharq Al-Awsat, adding that its delivery “was preceded last month by the transfer of surface-to-air American Stinger missiles, tanks, and armored vehicles.”

Turkey established a de-facto no-fly-zone over the northwestern part of the Idlib Governorate last month, as their aircraft shot down at least three Syrian Arab Air Force jets that attempted to bomb areas near the Hatay Province’s border.

As a result of this move, the Syrian Air Force refrained from targeting sites near the border, which later prompted the Russian military to increase their own strikes over this area.

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