Turkish troops enter northern Syria in new operation

Adjust Comment Print

Turkish troops have crossed into Syria's Idlib province to monitor de-escalation zones that aim to bring an end to the six-and-a-half-year conflict, the military said Friday.

"A military convoy of Turkish forces... entered Idlib province before heading towards the western part of Aleppo province", the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a statement late Thursday.

"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.

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.

Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim stated that Ankara acts within Astana agreements and coordinates its actions in Idlib with Moscow. The three countries are guaranteeing the ceasefire regime in 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. Three other de-escalation zones are now operating in south-western Syria, eastern Ghouta (suburbs of Damascus) and northern Homs province.

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.