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13 October 2017, 02:44 | Opal Carroll
Turkish troops enter northern Syria in new operation
A convoy of the military operation that Turkey is carrying out in Syria's Idlib province crossed into the area late on Thursday, two rebels and a witness said.
As part of general Staff, Astana process, which will serve in Idlib tension reduction zone, was reported to begin its activities which constitute observation points from yesterday.
Idlib is largely controlled by Hayat Tahrir Al Sham (HTS), a group led by Al-Qaeda's former Syria affiliate, which ousted more moderate rebels in recent months.
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.
Moustafa Sejari, a senior official in rebel group Liwa Al Moutassem taking part in the operation, said on Twitter that the Turkish deployment was meant to "protect the region from bombing and to cut the path of (Kurdish) separatists".
Turkey said on Saturday it was carrying out a military operation in Idlib and surrounding areas as part of a deal it reached with Russian Federation and Iran last month to enforce a "de-escalation" zone in northwest Syria.
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Idlib province is one of the four de-escalation zones unveiled in May by the participants in the Astana negotiations, which includes Russia, Iran and Turkey.
Turkey has supported rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad throughout the war.
Last week Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced new operation in Syria.
The YPG accused Turkey of making threatening moves towards Afrin, the neighbouring region held by the militia.
In the area taken by the Euphrates Shield campaign, Turkey has made changes to local governance that indicate it may be laying a foundation for long term ties with that part of Syria. He said that Turkey plans to further enhance steps in providing safety in Idlib.
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