Saturday, 16 December, 2017

Turkish Forces Set Up Positions in Northwest Syria

Idlib sees Turkey as the beneficiary Turkish Forces Set Up Positions in Northwest Syria
Melinda Barton | 13 October, 2017, 14:42

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.

Turkish soldiers, including special forces, and 30 armored vehicles entered Idlib on Thursday night as part of de-escalation zones deal.

In a statement on Friday the military said that it had begun "activities to establish observation posts on October 12 (Thursday)".

The convoy was escorted by fighters from Tahrir al-Sham, an alliance of jihadist groups including the former al Qaeda affiliate previously known as the Nusra Front, Abu Khairo said.

Turkey said on Saturday it was carrying out a military operation in Idlib and surrounding areas as part of a deal it reached with Russian Federation and Iran last month to enforce a "de-escalation" zone in northwest Syria.

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.

A string of ceasefire deals in recent months has eased the fighting in western Syria.

Turkish troops enter Syria.

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

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.

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.

A large column of Turkish tanks and armoured vehicles has crossed into northern Syria in an operation described as a peacekeeping effort by Ankara but criticised by the Assad regime as a land grab. He said that Turkey plans to further enhance steps in providing safety in Idlib.