Turkish army tanks in Idlib, monitoring zones established
Oct 13 2017 by Desiree Burns
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed late Thursday that a military convoy of Turkish forces entered Idlib before heading towards the western part of Aleppo province.
Turkish soldiers, including special forces, and 30 armored vehicles entered Idlib on Thursday night as part of de-escalation zones deal.
However, the deployment is also meant to rein in the Kurdish YPG militia, which holds the adjacent Afrin region, a senior rebel official involved in the operation 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.
However, the Turkish deployment is also meant to rein in the Kurdish YPG militia, which holds the Afrin region next to Idlib, a senior rebel official involved in the operation said.
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The operation in the northwestern region was launched under a May deal between Turkey, which backs groups opposed to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad's regime, and Russian Federation and Iran, who support Assad. 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 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.
The de-escalation zone is part of an agreement between Turkey, which backs forces battling the government of President Bashar al-Assad, and Iran and Russian Federation, which support his government.
A large column of Turkish tanks and armoured vehicles has crossed into northern Syria in an operation described as a peacekeeping effort by Ankara but criticised by the Assad regime as a land grab. Russia, Syria and Turkey have been discussing a deal for the Turkish involvement.