July 29, 2017 photo, a Hezbollah fighter stands at a watchtower at the site where clashes erupted between Hezbollah and al-Qaida-linked fighters in Wadi al-Kheil or al-Kheil Valley in the Lebanon-Syria border. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

The Iranian Consultative Center in Syria, an operations room commanding Iranian forces in the country, revealed on February 29 that several of its fighters were killed in the recent Turkish drone and artillery strikes on Greater Idlib.

In an official statement, the center said the Turkish military attacked Iranian-backed troops near the Aleppo-Damascus highway, known as the M5. The Turkish strikes were meant to support an attack by al-Qaeda-affiliated militants on the highway.

According to the center, the Turkish side was asked through mediators to halt its strikes. However, it went on, killing several Iranian-backed fighters.

In what appears to be a warning, the center said its forces could attack Turkish troops in Greater Idlib, but the order from the political leadership is to not fire at them.

“The Iranian consultative center, and the Mujahedeen of the resistance front, call on the Turkish forces to act rationally in the interests of the Syrian and Turkish peoples, reminding the Turkish people that their sons have been present for a month in the range of our forces and we could take revenge, but we did not do so in response to the orders of our leadership, and we call on them [Turkish people] to pressure the Turkish leadership to reform its decisions,” the statement, that was shared by the U-News agency, reads.

Earlier, Lebanese sources revealed that nine fighters of Hezbollah were killed in recent Turkish drone strikes on Greater Idlib. An Iranian field commander was also killed in the strikes.

Turkey’s aggressive moves in Greater Idlib are apparently provoking Syria’s allies. Any more escalation by Ankara could lead to a serious military confrontation in the region.

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