Inside days of Erdogan stating on February 12: “Aircraft that have been bombing civilians in Idlib will no longer fly as freely,” two Syrians helicopters have come down on February 11 and 15.
Syria has lost over 100 aircraft in the war since 2012 to various causes so this isn’t exactly unprecedented but the last time the rebels shot down a Syrian aircraft was in August 2019 when a Su-22 fighter-bomber was brought down, possibly by automatic cannon. The last rebel success against Syrian aircraft before that was the forcing down of a Mi-8 helicopter a year earlier in September 2018.
All taken into account it seems very likely that the Turks have either recently started handing over shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles to the rebels, or have been shooting at Syrian aircraft themselves.
The latter option would be a more direct form of aggression but would allow Turkey to retain more control.
Either way, the question is what happens should a Russian aircraft be shot down with the loss of a crewman?
— . (@op_shield) February 14, 2020
HELİKOPTER KET. pic.twitter.com/WOC8hdJsoU
— TSKMap.net (@TSKMap) February 14, 2020
Mİ-8 helikopteri düşürülmüş. pic.twitter.com/35fTsX54sZ
— 2.ORDU (@2_ordu) February 14, 2020
In another first, …