The Syrian Assad regime’s air strikes, backed by Russia, continued hitting opposition held areas in the Turkmen Mountains in Syria, as 2,000 bombs were dropped on the strategic Salma region in the country’s northwest.
The Assad regime aims to reach opposition held Idlib by surrounding the Turkmen area, from where around 2,000 Syrian Turkmens have fled their homes and arrived in southern Turkey since December.
Many Turkmens who fled their villages are trying to live in and around villages near the Turkish border in makeshift tents.
Turkey, which has historical and cultural ties with Syrian Turkmen communities, dating back centuries, strongly condemned the recent Russian bombardment of the area.
"We condemn the surging attacks on the Bayirbucak region where our Turkmen brothers live and these innocent people are constantly bombarded by air strikes and also by ground forces," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday.
"Therefore, they started to flee towards our Syrian border," Erdogan said.
The attacks in the area started in mid-November, as Russian jets destroyed a number of Turkmen shelters and ammunition stores in the rural Syrian town of Bayirbucak, where violence intensified in December.
Russian air strikes began targeting Syria on September 30, mainly hitting opposition held regions rather than DAESH-controlled territories.
Monitoring groups reported that Russian strikes killed hundreds of civilians as well as the members of factions fighting Assad’s forces to clear ground enabling Assad to expand his control.
UK based Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said in a report released in late December that only 20 percent of Russian strikes targeted DAESH-controlled regions.