At Least 22 Turkish Soldiers Killed In Russian Airstrike; Erdogan Holds Emergency Meeting

Within hours of a meeting between Turkish and Russian diplomats in Ankara ending which saw the Turkish delegation urge its counterparts to immediately establish a cease-fire in Idlib, there are new reports of that dozens of Turkish soldiers have been killed by a new wave of Russian airstrikes.

Reporters on the ground in Syria say that between 32 and 37 Turkish soldiers were killed. Turkish state sources have confirmed at least 22 dead with scores wounded.

Journalist Lindsey Snell has cited Turkish Free Syrian Army (TFSA) sources which confirm 32 Turkish national troop deaths so far in the strike.

Amid the breaking reports The Washington Post's Liz Sly says Turkish President Erdogan has called an emergency security meeting of his military leaders over the alleged Russian attack. 

Despite widespread initial reports that it was a Russian airstrike, Turkish state media has thus far used the interesting wording of "Assad regime forces" conducting the strike and not Russia.

This after heavy clashes today in Idlib towns have been ongoing related to the Syrian Army's major offensive in the south of the province. 

Regional reporter Emma Beals writes

Initial reports say a large number of Turkish soldiers killed today in Idlib. Lots of activity now at Reyhanli hospital in Turkey. Erdogan chairing an emergency meeting right now, with CHP party chairing their own tonight as well.

"If all confirmed, could signal major escalation," she added of the breaking story.

"Updated reports indicate a two-story building used by Turkey's military as a command headquarters was leveled in a targeted Russian airstrike," Middle East Institute's Charles Lister writes

"Requests by Ankara to fly in helicopters to evacuate casualties were rejected by Hmeymin Airbase; casualties were driven by land," he added.

And immediately on the heels of today's dramatic escalation, Sen. Lindsey Graham is urging Trump to impose a No Fly Zone over Idlib.

Turkey appears to have cut off Twitter access to the entire country.

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