Turkey deploys troops to Syria's rebel-held Idlib

Cheryl Sanders
October 13, 2017

Turkey is accelerating its military buildup around Idlib with the deployment of more units and drones to determine surveillance points in the Syrian province, Arab News reported.

The de-escalation zone is part of an agreement between Turkey, which backs forces battling the government of President Bashar al-Assad, and Iran and Russian Federation, which support his government.

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


"On October 12, we began activities to establish observation posts", the military said in a statement. Turkey's declared aim is to eliminate groups affiliated with Al Qaeda from the border area and counter the expansion of the Kurdish rebels.

According to SANA, the Army units carried out intensive operations against ISIL terrorists in al-Mayadeen city, establishing control over al-Tibeh village that is adjacent to the city and advancing into al-Mayadeen neighborhoods from the western part.

Idlib province is one of the four de-escalation zones unveiled in May by the participants in the Astana negotiations, which includes Russia, Iran and Turkey. Russia, Syria and Turkey have been discussing a deal for the Turkish involvement.


The Syrian conflict began after widespread protests against the government in 2011 but has since turned into a multi-front war that has killed more than 330,000 people.

"(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 an 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.


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