Edrogan announces military op in Idlib, Syria

Posted October 09, 2017

"Since we do not allow any operations against our own country, we will also not allow any operations against the territorial integrity of our neighbors", he said.

Last month, Erdogan said Turkey would deploy troops in Syria's northwest Idlib as part of a de-escalation agreement brokered by Russian Federation in August.

TRT World's Sara Firth, who is in the southern Turkish province of Hatay on the Mediterranean coast, explains the latest efforts to build a safe zone in northern Syria.

Ousting HTS forces from the area will be needed to allow the arrival of Iranian, Russian and Turkish forces to implement a de-escalation zone.

Residents near the Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey in Syria sent Reuters photographs of what they said was a section of the frontier wall being removed by the Turkish authorities.

The Turkish army was opening passages enough for the entry of military vehicles into Idlib. "Salah al-Din al-Shishani is still alive and is somewhere in the regions controlled by militant groups in the west of Aleppo province".

Turkish troops are expected to be deployed inside Idlib with Russians stationed around the city, and the collaboration emphasizes the closer ties between Erdogan and Putin, a relationship viewed with concern by Turkey's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

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By joining the Idlib mission, Turkey is "de facto agreeing to the transition of power for Assad", Talha Kose, an analyst with the Ankara-based Foundation for Political and Social Research, said at a conference on Syria in Istanbul on Thursday.

"When you enter a boxing match, you don't count how many punches you will throw", Erdogan said.

And it has seen its ranks rapidly depleted in advance of the expected Turkish operation, with its coalition now effectively reduced back down to Fateh Al Sham. The three countries agreed in May to be guarantors of a cease-fire to help end the six-year civil war in Syria.

According to the agreement on the Idlib de-escalation zone, Russia's military policemen will maintain security outside Idlib and Turkey will deploy its troops inside Idlib.

He was referring to the USA -backed Syrian Kurdish militants that Turkey considers terrorists.

Idlib and surrounding areas of northwest Syria are among the largest bastions for rebel groups fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad, but have increasingly fallen under the sway of insurgent factions.