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Main force of Turkish troops enter Syria's Idlib

13 October 2017

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the deployment in Syria on October 7, saying Turkey was conducting a "serious operation" in Idlib, as part of a "de-escalation" deal it agreed last month with Iran and Russian Federation in Astana, Kazakhstan.

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.

"The Turkish Armed Forces continue to carry out their duties in the territory within the engagement rules agreed by the guarantor countries in the Astana negotiations".

Several Turkish military vehicles, ambulances and tankers were visible in photographs published by Turkey's Anadolu news agency late on Thursday stationed at a village near Turkey's Reyhanli border gate opposite Bab al-Hawa.

A string of ceasefire deals in recent months has eased the fighting in western Syria.

Civilians there are living in fear of potential clashes between Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighters and Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, an alliance of armed groups that controls Idlib.

"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.

The last time Turkish forces were engaged in Syria was in August, when Turkey launched its eight-month-long Euphrates Shield operation against jihadists and Kurdish militia in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo.

Main force of Turkish troops enter Syria's Idlib