Turkish troops enter northern Syria in new operation

Turkish troops enter northern Syria in new operation

Turkish troops enter northern Syria in new operation

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 Astana agreement with Assad's foreign allies Russian Federation and Iran involves reducing fighting in several regions of Syria, including Idlib and adjacent swathes of the northwest, the most populous rebel-held area.

A convoy of approximately 30 Turkish army armoured vehicles and 100 troops entered the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib on Thursday night, a statement said.

"The allied Turkish armed forces have entered Syrian territory and begun setting up observation posts", Mustafa Sejari, an official in the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebel group, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

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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.

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

Turkish army armored vehicles drive at the Syria-Turkey border on on October 8, 2017.

Turkey says its operation, along with Syrian rebel groups it backs, is part of a deal it reached last month with Russian Federation and Iran in Astana, Kazakhstan, to reduce fighting between insurgents and the Syrian government.

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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.

The last time Turkish forces were engaged in Syria was in August, when Turkey launched its eight-month long Euphrates Shield operation against extremists and Kurdish militia in northern Syria.

Erdogan has repeatedly vowed he will not allow the YPG to form a "terror corridor" reaching the Mediterranean on Turkey's southern border. He said that Turkey plans to further enhance steps in providing safety in Idlib.

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