Turkey launching "serious operation" in Idlib, Syria

Operation Idlib

The operation is part of a de-escalation deal agreed between Turkey, Iran, and Russian Federation, and will involve Syrian rebel groups crossing into Idlib supported by Turkish soldiers from inside Turkey.

"If you take one step towards us, we will take two towards you", he said.

Turkish forces exchanged fire on Sunday with jihadists from Al-Qaeda's former Syrian affiliate on the border of Idlib province, a monitor and eyewitnesses said, a day after Ankara announced an imminent operation there.

"We will absolutely not allow the creation of a terror corridor along our borders", said Erdogan.

A rebel commander participating in the operation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP in Beirut that "all the rebel groups" who took part in Euphrates Shield are participating in the latest operation.

The Turkish president made the remarks at the 26th semi-annual consultation and assessment meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey's western city of Afyonkarahisar on Saturday, describing the operation as being "serious".


The plan to enforce a de-escalation zone in Idlib involves deploying Turkish special forces and observation points, according to Sejari, from the Turkish-backed Al-Mutasim Brigades.

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

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.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron discussed the current situation in Syria and Iraq via phone on Saturday.

Turkey has been building up its forces close to the Bab al-Hawa border crossing for weeks, in anticipation of a military operation into the territory. Turkish soldiers are expected to join the operation later, he said.

Afer those talks Putin declared the right conditions now existed to end the over six-year civil war that has killed an estimated 330,000 people since 2011. Turkey has supported and backed rebels that seek the toppling of Assad. "It is a very risky area - Turkey may face a backlash from moderate rebels if it can't deliver humanitarian services" and may also "come under pressure" from Russian Federation and Iran to eliminate militants, he said.

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