Syria war: Turkish forces set up positions in Idlib

From BBC - October 13, 2017

Turkish soldiers and armoured vehicles have crossed into Syria as part of an operation Ankara says is aimed at stopping fighting in Idlib province.

A military statement said the forces would set up observation posts to help monitor a "de-escalation zone" in line with an agreement with Russia and Iran.

Idlib is largely controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a jihadist alliance linked to al-Qaeda.

It also borders the Kurdish enclave of Afrin, which Turkey wants to contain.

Turkey backs the opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and last year supported a rebel offensive against so-called Islamic State (IS) along the border in neighbouring Aleppo province.

That operation also served to prevent a US-backed alliance that is led by the Kurdish Popular Protection Units (YPG) seizing the territory and reaching Afrin.

Ankara considers the YPG an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has fought for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey for three decades.

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reported that military convoys had crossed into Idlib from Reyhanli in the southern Turkish province of Hatay.

The Hurriyet newspaper said about 30 armoured vehicles and more than 100 soldiers were taking part in the operation, and speculated that more troops could be sent in the coming days.


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