Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Main force of Turkish troops enter Syria's Idlib

Main force of Turkish troops enter Syria's Idlib

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.

Military convoys crossed from Reyhanli in southern Turkey's Hatay province on Thursday night.

The YPG accused Turkey of making threatening moves towards Afrin, the neighbouring region held by the militia.

"The Turkish army convoy is entering under the protection of Tahrir al-Sham to take positions on the front line with the YPG", another FSA official in the area said.

It said the sound of "doshka" (machine-gun) fire from across the border could be heard in Reyhanli district and it was not clear which forces were clashing.

The deployment is part of the de-escalation deal brokered in Astana last month between Ankara, Tehran and Moscow.

While Turkey supports Syrian opposition fighters and calls for Assad's ouster, Ankara has worked closely in the last few months with Russian Federation - who supports Assad - in the hope of bringing the war to an end. According to agreed, deployment of troops was determined by establishing control and observation points in security zones that constitute borders of Turkey's conflict zone in Idlib.

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.

As the strongest part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the YPG has received military aid from Turkey's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally the United States to fight Islamic State.

Last week Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced new operation in Syria.

That operation was also aimed at stopping the YPG using its own advances against IS from linking Afrin with the much larger area it controls in northeastern Syria.

The operation's target is the HTS but Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP in Beirut that Turkish forces were escorted by HTS elements, appearing to suggest a degree of coordination by Turkey with the group.

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