Turkey starting 'serious operation' in Syria's Idlib

Turkey starting 'serious operation' in Syria's Idlib

Turkey starting 'serious operation' in Syria's Idlib

Erdogan said that Russian Federation is backing the operation from the air and Turkish soldiers from inside the Turkish border.

Already tense relations took a turn for the worse after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan launched a crackdown on his opponents following a failed coup attempt past year, Reuters reported.

"We are taking new steps to ensure security in Idlib", he said.

Turkey has also pressed, so far in vain, for the United States to extradite Fethullah Gulen over the July 2016 putsch, in which more than 240 people were killed.

In another front, Syria's army and its allies have encircled Islamic State in the city of al-Mayadin, southeast of Deir al-Zor, in eastern Syria, a Syrian military source said yesterday.

The US maintains that the group is still linked to al Qaeda, however.

Turkey has sent military reinforcements to its southern border with Syria to commence what it called a "a serious operation" in Idlib.

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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Idlib is one of four so-called "de-escalation" zones under a deal brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran in May.

"Apparently, the final agreement on this issue [situation in Idlib] was reached during a meeting in Ankara between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan".

"The Free Syrian Army with support from Turkish troops is in full readiness to enter the area but until this moment there is no movement", he said.

Deploying Russian and Iranian observers could potentially be a controversial issue, considering that the Syrian opposition, backed by Turkey, views the two countries as enemies due to their support for the Syrian government.

The intermittent clashes were reported near the town of Kafr-Lusin on the border in the northern countryside of Idlib province in northwestern Syria, Xinhua cited local media as reporting.

Idlib is the last remaining area in northern Syria where anti-Assad rebel groups have a foothold.

Russia, along with Iran, is the key backer of President Bashar al-Assad and Moscow's military intervention inside Syria is widely seen as tipping the balance in the conflict.

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