Turkish troops enter northern Syria in new operation


Reconnaissance units have been operating in the area since last Sunday.

"Turkish Armed Forces elements that are to serve in the Idlib de-escalation zone have started their activities by establishing observation posts from October 12, 2017, as part of the Astana agreement..." Analysts say the deployment of vehicles and troops - mostly special forces and commandos - in Syria will continue over the next few days.

Idlib is largely controlled by Hayat Tahrir Al Sham (HTS), a group led by Al-Qaeda's former Syria affiliate, which ousted more moderate rebels in recent months.

In meetings of Turkey, Russia and Iran in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana, Syria's border with Idlib province of Turkey was declared a conflict zone.

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Several Turkish military vehicles, ambulances and tankers were visible in photographs published by Turkey's Anadolu news agency late on Thursday stationed at a village near Turkey's Reyhanli border gate opposite Bab al-Hawa.

As part of the latest victories by the Syrian Army against Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group, the government troops on Thursday advanced in al-Mayadeen city in Deir ez-Zor, east of Syria.

While Turkey supports Syrian opposition fighters and calls for Assad's ouster, Ankara has worked closely in the last few months with Russian Federation - who supports Assad - in the hope of bringing the war to an end.

"It remains to be seen what happens to the fighters who control Idlib province".

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Erdogan has repeatedly vowed he will not allow the YPG to form a "terror corridor" reaching the Mediterranean on Turkey's southern border.

"(It is) in line with Astana 6 resolutions to ensure the area is protected from Russian and regime bombing and to foil any attempt by the separatist YPG militias to illegally seize any territory", said Mustafa Sejari, an official in a Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebel group.

However, the deployment is also meant to rein in the Kurdish YPG militia, which holds the adjacent Afrin region, a senior rebel official involved in the operation said. He said that Turkey plans to further enhance steps in providing safety in Idlib.

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