Operation Spring Shield was a Turkish military operation between from February 27 to March 3rd.

A Turkish news source article, Turkey neutralizes 3,000+ regime elements in Idlib, Syria reported on March 4th:

Turkish forces neutralized 3,136 regime elements in Syria since the start of Operation Spring Shield in the northwestern Idlib region, said the National Defense Ministry on Wednesday.

The new offensive also destroyed 151 tanks, 47 howitzers, two vehicles, three airplanes, eight helicopters, three drones, eight air defense systems.


Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" to imply the elements in question surrendered or were killed or captured.

Is it true?

  • Mind to elaborate more? Commented Apr 26, 2020 at 2:54
  • 1
    It bothers me that the article uses the term "regime elements" that I am not familiar with - It sounds like it is a euphemism for soldiers, but maybe they mean vehicles, equipment, arms, buildings. Can anyone provide context to show what the Turkish military mean by that term?
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Apr 26, 2020 at 4:03
  • 2
    Also, this just happened. Do we need to close it until there is evidence available?
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Apr 26, 2020 at 4:03
  • @Oddthinking: the subheading is "151 tanks, 47 howitzers, 3 airplanes, 8 helicopters, 3 drones, 8 air defense systems destroyed, says Defense Ministry". Omelette... eggs. Commented Apr 26, 2020 at 14:34
  • 151 tanks sounds highly suspicious to me, even more so when combined with 2 vehicles. 151 tanks is a huge amount, random googling gives about 4k total tanks for Syria, which already looks like a significantly inflated number relative to other countries. Secondly an army has orders of magnitude more jeeps, trucks and similar vehicles. Loosing 151 tanks but only 2 vehicles doesn't looks very credible.
    – quarague
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 6:01

2 Answers 2


It's hard to confirm all of that but, the Guardian reported at least regarding two of the downed jets:

The Syrian military had not previously lost more than one jet fighter on a single day throughout the eight-year war, which had been mainly fought through a myriad of proxies. A Turkish F-16 shot both planes down after Turkey lost a drone to Syrian fire. The downing of the jets was acknowledged by both sides and made light of regime claims that it would defend its airspace over the north of the country – a role taken over by Russia in the past four years, whose forces Ankara has avoided over the past three days.

However, in terms of actual life losses, the Guardian had reported much lower figures:

Turkish drones and artillery pieces have killed at least 106 Syrian soldiers and dozens more allied militiamen, including 14 members of Lebanon’s Hezbollah and at least 21 Afghan and Pakistani Shias who had been sent to Idlib by Iran.

But the time frame is not terribly clear. On the other hand it says:

The Turkish military claims to have killed more than 2,000 Assad-aligned fighters in recent weeks, although observers who monitor casualties across Syria estimate the figure at closer to 150.


There is little to go on aside from Turkey's official numbers. What little I'm finding from other sources does not prove much.

Al-Monitor reported on March 1:

Turkey said it had destroyed several air defense systems, more than 100 tanks and killed 2,212 members of the Syrian forces, including three top generals in drone strikes since Feb 27.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports as of March 5:

1,077 [Syrian] regime soldiers and loyalists were killed in clashes, attacks, bombardment and detonations by Turkish-backed factions and jihadi groups, of whom 170 soldiers were killed by Turkish artillery and drone attacks.

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