Russian state television said on Thursday Turkish military specialists in Syria's Idlib region were using shoulder-fired missiles to try to shoot down Russian and Syrian military aircraft.
The assertion, aired during a report from Idlib on the Rossiya 24 channel, came as Turkish and rebel officials said Syrian rebels, backed by the Turkish military, had seized the town of Nairab in Idlib.
"Their own and Russian planes are saving the lives of Syrian troops in a literal sense," said the Rossiya 24 report. "Syrian and Russian planes are stopping the rebels again and again. But the sky above Idlib is also dangerous. The rebels and Turkish specialists are actively using portable air defence systems."
It said Russian and Syrian planes were therefore being forced to take counter-measures after carrying out bombing runs on rebel positions. Later on Thursday airstrikes killed some 33 Turkish troops in a further escalation of tensions.
Turkey said on Friday that airstrikes in Syria's Idlib region which killed its troops happened despite coordination with Russian officials on the ground, and that the attacks continued after a warning being made after the first strikes, according to state media.
State-owned Anadolu news agency reported Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar as making the comments. Akar also said 309 Syrian government soldiers, which are backed which are backed by Moscow, were killed in retaliation.
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