Turkey launching "serious operation" in Idlib, Syria

Posted October 09, 2017

Turkish commando units and armor are expected to take part in any offensive in Idlib, although it is believed Free Syrian Army fighters will make up the bulk of the force entering the province.

The al-Qaida-linked group said its fighters and suicide bombers are awaiting the fighters of the Euphrates Shield.

"The Syrian regime has allowed northwest Syria to become a safe haven for al-Qaida terrorists that not only threaten the Syrian people and regional security but also support worldwide terrorist networks", Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon told Daily Sabah.

Erdogan said Turkey would not desert civilians in Idlib and would not allow a "terror corridor" in northern Syria.

"Today a landmark operation is underway in Idlib, and this will continue".

"Our efforts in Idlib are going on, in cooperation with the Free Syria Army, without problems at the moment", he told members of his ruling AK Party at a meeting in the western Turkish province of Afyon.

HTS has pledged to keep fighting Syrian regime forces and their allies, casting doubt on the de-escalation agreement, but Ankara has worked to lure militants from it, and two groups have defected from the alliance.

The operation follows a deal between Turkey and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's allies Russian Federation and Iran to impose a "de-escalation" zone in Idlib and surrounding areas to reduce warfare there, an agreement that did not include Tahrir al-Sham.

He also claimed Turkey would be prepared to work with Green politician Cem Ozdemir, who is of Turkish origin and a fierce critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Turkish army is amassing tanks and commandos ahead of a joint mission with Russian Federation and Iran to monitor a ceasefire agreement and pacify a rebel stronghold in northwest Syria.

Turkish media reports that a convoy of at least 12 vehicles, carrying 12 tanks and two bulldozers, was heading for the Cilvegozu crossing across Syria's Bab al-Hawa border gate.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel came under enormous pressure from her rivals to sharpen tone towards Turkey, particularly due to the arrests of around 10 German citizens, including a reporter and a human rights activist, for alleged support for terrorist organisations.

The illegitimate referendum saw Iraqis in KRG-controlled areas - and in a handful of territories disputed between Erbil and Baghdad, including ethnically mixed Kirkuk and Mosul - vote on whether or not to declare independence.