Syria, rockets against two natural gas plants. High tension between Damascus and Ankara

Two power plants in Homs and south-west of Aleppo are targeted. The authors of the attack and the extent of the damage are unknown. The structures are used to supply fuel to the whole national territory. Heavy clashes with victims yesterday between the Syrian and Turkish armies in Idlib. Ankara warns Moscow: don't interfere.

 


Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Rockets struck two natural gas plants in the early morning area, in the area of ​​Homs and Ebla, about 60 km south-west of Aleppo. The Syrian state television reported, according to which the firefighters have been busy for several hours to put out the flames in the first of the two plants; the situation was better in the second, where there would have been no substantial damages.

At the moment, there is no information on the origin of the mortar rounds and who attacked it.  Damascus has yet to confirm the extent of damage to structures and any interruptions in production. 

The Ebla gas plant suPplies local power plants with around 2.5 million cubic meters of gas per day. Both structures are used to supply fuel nationwide.

Yesterday, meanwhile, in the disputed region of Idlib, the last rebel stronghold in the country, heavy clashes took place between the Syrian army, which advances towards the city, and the Turkish military, which support the anti-Assad opposition (and the jihadist militias). From 12 January in the area there has been a (fragile) ceasefire agreed between Turkey and Russia, an ally of the Bashar al-Assad government.

The Ankara defense ministry talks of at least six dead, including five military and one civilian, hit by mortars launched by the Syrian army. The response of the Turkish army, which would have "neutralized" 76 elements among the Syrian troops, was not long in coming. News denied by Damascus, according to which there are no victims or injuries.

Sources of the Turkish Anadolu agency speak of at least 1300 civilian deaths in the area since September 2018, when Moscow and Ankara reached an agreement for the formation of a "demilitarized zone". Added to this are the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the Syrian army offensive or the violence perpetrated by jihadist groups.

Yesterday's clashes between Turks and Syrians threatens to undermine the ongoing dialogue between Moscow and Ankara with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who yesterday ordered his Russian counterpart not to interfere in the clashes between the parties. The Turkish leader asked the Kremlin to "assume its obligations" in the Idlib province and "not to interfere" in the clashes with Syria. "We expect Russia - said Omer Celik, spokesman for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) -  not to cover the regime or protect it after this clear attack on our armed forces".

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