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Turkey deploys troops to Syria's rebel-held Idlib
13 October 2017, 02:42 | Erica Roy
Turkish troops enter northern Syria in new operation
"The allied Turkish armed forces have entered Syrian territory and begun setting up observation posts", Mustafa Sejari, an official in the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebel group, was quoted as saying by Reuters.
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.
Turkey says it is backing Syrian rebels in a bid to oust HTS members in the area to allow Iranian, Russian and Turkish forces to implement the zone.
The move comes after the Turkish army launched a reconnaissance mission on Sunday as part of efforts by Ankara along with Moscow and Tehran, to set up the zone in line with accords in Astana peace talks.
At the weekend, reconnaissance teams entered Idlib province as part of an worldwide agreement to establish four de-escalation zones across Syria. Three other de-escalation zones are now operating in south-western Syria, eastern Ghouta (suburbs of Damascus) and northern Homs province.
Military convoys crossed from Reyhanli in southern Turkey's Hatay province on Thursday night.
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.
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.
Turkey regards the YPG as an extension of the PKK, a Kurdish group inside Turkey that has been waging armed insurgency against Ankara for three decades.
Last week Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced new operation in Syria.
The development came after Turkey said it was sending in troops to enforce a de-escalation zone in Idlib.
A string of ceasefire deals in recent months has eased the fighting in western Syria.
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