Turkish troops prepare to enter Idlib province, Syria

Posted October 09, 2017

"There's a serious operation in Syria's Idlib today and it will continue", Erdogan said in a speech to the members of his AK Party on Saturday, adding that Ankara would not allow a "terror corridor" on the border with the war-torn country.

"Regarding the fate of terrorists after the liberation of Idlib, there could be several scenarios - some groups may integrate into the Syrian military, some other groups may continue minor activities in certain areas or lay down their arms in exchange for some political concessions", Orhan said.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday that pro-Ankara Syrian rebels were staging a new military operation in Syria's northwestern Idlib province with the aim of pushing out militants who control the region. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

HTS has pledged to keep fighting Syrian regime forces and their allies, casting doubt on the de-escalation agreement, but Ankara has worked to lure militants from it, and two groups have defected from the alliance. There are no known plans by the Kurdish forces to take on al-Qaida-linked militants in Idlib.

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Military equipment has been deployed in Turkey's south-central province of Kilis, which borders Syrian territories controlled by YPG and PYD.

Deploying Russian and Iranian observers could potentially be a controversial issue, considering that the Syrian opposition, backed by Turkey, views the two countries as enemies due to their support for the Syrian government.

It is not clear what role the Turkish military will play in the operation. The zone would be monitored by Turkish soldiers.

And it has seen its ranks rapidly depleted in advance of the expected Turkish operation, with its coalition now effectively reduced back down to Fateh Al Sham.

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Turkey has long opposed any political transition under him, but Russia's intervention in Syria's civil war shored up the president after years of Turkish and USA insistence that he must go. "Our position on Russian Federation as an occupier state supportive of terrorism in Syria has not changed", wrote Sejari in a tweet.

The agreement came despite Russian Federation and Iran backing President Assad and Turkey wanting him gone. Turkish shelling hit near a camp for displaced civilians by the border, prompting some to flee the area, it said, and HTS fighters also shelled a Turkish position near the Bab al- Hawa border crossing.

He was referring to the USA -backed Syrian Kurdish militants that Turkey considers terrorists.

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