Saturday 29 February 2020

The Idlib Turkey Shoot: The Destruction and Capture of Vehicles and Equipment by Turkish and Rebel Forces

By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans in collaboration with Jakub Janovsky and Calibre Obscura

Turkish air and ground strikes which commenced late on the 27th of February 2020 on positions of the Syrian Arab Army (SyAA) and affiliated forces hit a large number of targets throughout Idlib and Aleppo, leading to the complete collapse of government forces along this part of the frontline and allowing rebel forces to continue their advance after recapturing the strategic town of Saraqib. Launched in retaliation after the killing of 33 Turkish soldiers in an airstrike, Turkey has now entered a new phase in its war in Syria, and at present the long-term implications can only be guessed at.

To purposely strike a Turkish military position only to get completely annihilated in retaliatory strikes raises the issue of whether the current organisation in charge of regime operations is capable of dealing with the situation it faces. The catastrophic outcome of the regime's (and Russia's) attempt at directly challenging Turkey's resolve must have not only amazed those following the offensive, but also the regime's military itself. Completely misjudging the impending danger and incapable of properly anticipating Turkey's retaliatory strikes, the Syrian military totally collapsed in the face of drones and artillery. Instead of engaging or at least deterring Turkish aircraft and drones from freely striking government forces on the ground, the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) and Syrian Arab Air Defence Force (SyAADF) have so far done nothing to stop the Turkish Air Force from penetrating into Syrian airspace.

What is certain is that for rebel forces Turkey's new phase could not have come at a better time. As the tide of the war is now in favour of the regime, rebel forces lost the offensive posture many groups managed to cling on to for much of the war. With rebel forces in Idlib everywhere on the defensive and losing, Idlib has largely been cut off from the largest supplier of weaponry and ammunition to factions opposing the Syrian government: The Syrian Arab Army. The latter's failure to redistribute, protect, or at least destroy major arms depots like Ayyash ensured a seemingly endless supply of vehicles, weaponry and ammunition to opposing forces in Syria. Nowadays mostly relying on small batches of munitions purchased on the black market or received from foreign powers, the only way for rebels in Idlib to stock up on heavier equipment like tanks is through smash and grab attacks on poorly defended but overstocked regime positions and now, a Turkish-backed offensive launched against the city of Saraqib.


A detailed list of the destroyed and captured vehicles, weaponry and ammunition and can be seen below.

This list only includes captured vehicles and equipment of which photo or videographic evidence is available. Therefore, the amount of equipment destroyed by Turkey and captured by Idlibi rebel forces is undoubtedly higher than recorded here. Small arms and munitions are not included in this list.

This list will be updated as additional footage becomes available.

(Click on the numbers to get a picture of each individual captured or destroyed vehicle)

Tanks (50, of which destroyed: 37, captured: 13)


Infantry fighting vehicles (21, of which destroyed: 9, captured: 12)


(Self-propelled) artillery (26, of which destroyed: 26)


Multiple rocket launchers (12, of which destroyed: 11, damaged: 1)

Mortars (3, of which destroyed: 1, captured: 2)


Anti-tank guided missiles (37, of which captured: 37, of which 10 launchers and optics)


(Self-propelled) anti-aircraft guns (7, of which destroyed: 6, captured: 1)


Surface-to-air missile systems (3, of which destroyed: 3)


Radars systems (1, of which destroyed: 1)


Aircraft and Helicopters (8, of which destroyed: 8)

  •   2 Su-24MK2 (downed on the 1st of March 2020)
  •   1 L-39 (downed on the 3th of March 2020)
  •   2 Mi-8/17 (1 and 2 shot down by MANPADS on the 11th and 14th of Feburary respectively)
  •   3 MBB 223 Flamingo (Hit in a hangar at Kweres. Likely already derelict and used as a source of spare parts)

Trucks, vehicles and engineering equipment (31, of which destroyed: 19, captured: 12)

Special thanks to Morant Mathieu, MENA_Conflict and Monitoring.


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