Turkish Troops Begin Setting Up Observation Posts in Syria's Idlib

13 October, 2017, 14:42 | Author: Lula Armstrong
  • First Turkish military convoy enters Syria's Idlib

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed late Thursday a Turkish military convoy entered Idlib before heading towards the western part of Aleppo province.

The armed forces have begun to establish observation and monitoring points in the region where Turkey is operating within the framework of the "de-escalation zones" agreed at the Astana talks with Russian Federation and Iran.

Over 100 soldiers, including special forces, and 30 armored vehicles entered Idlib, Turkey's Hurriyet daily reported on Friday, as it speculated more troops could be sent to the province over the next few days. "Tonight, Turkish Armed Forces jointly with the FSA units started an operation in Idlib", the president said.

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However, the Turkish deployment is also meant to rein in the Kurdish YPG militia, which holds the Afrin region next to Idlib, a senior rebel official involved in the operation said.

At the weekend, reconnaissance teams entered Idlib province as part of an worldwide agreement to establish four de-escalation zones across Syria.

Turkey has supported rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad throughout the war.

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In the area taken by the Euphrates Shield campaign, Turkey has made changes to local governance that indicate it may be laying a foundation for long term ties with that part of Syria. According to agreed, deployment of troops was determined by establishing control and observation points in security zones that constitute borders of Turkey's conflict zone in Idlib.

Sejari, the rebel official, said it was important to contain the YPG to prevent any new military offensive to reach the Mediterranean, something that would require it to capture swathes of mountains held by rebels and Syria's army.

One of Turkey's main concerns is the expansion of the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara says is linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) waging an insurgency inside Turkey.

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