Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Hatay Commando troops were shipped to the border zone

Hatay Commando troops were shipped to the border zone

A convoy of the military operation that Turkey is carrying out in Syria's Idlib province crossed into the area late on Thursday, two rebels and a witness said.

Turkey sent a convoy of about 30 military vehicles into rebel-held northwest Syria through the Bab al-Hawa crossing in Idlib, rebels and a witness said.

Turkey's military has begun setting up observation posts in northwest Syria's Idlib province, its General Staff said on Friday, part of a deployment that appears partly aimed at containing a Kurdish militia. Turkey's declared aim is to eliminate groups affiliated with Al Qaeda from the border area and counter the expansion of the Kurdish rebels. Reconnaissance units have been operating in the area since last Sunday.

As part of the latest victories by the Syrian Army against Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group, the government troops on Thursday advanced in al-Mayadeen city in Deir ez-Zor, east of Syria.

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.

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The operation in the northwestern region was launched under a May deal between Turkey, which backs groups opposed to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad's regime, and Russian Federation and Iran, who support Assad.

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.

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

"(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.

The development came after Turkey said it was sending in troops to enforce a de-escalation zone in Idlib.

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