Turkey clashes with jihadists on Syria border - Syrian Observatory

Trevor Jackson
October 9, 2017

The Turkish president said the operation in Idlib is the follow-up of the Euphrates Shield Operation in northern Syria, which was launched on August 24, 2016, in a bid to clear Turkey's border of the Islamic State (IS) militants and other terrorists.

"Regarding the fate of terrorists after the liberation of Idlib, there could be several scenarios - some groups may integrate into the Syrian military, some other groups may continue minor activities in certain areas or lay down their arms in exchange for some political concessions", Orhan said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan today said pro-Ankara Syrian rebels were staging a new military operation in Syria's jihadist-controlled Idlib province.

"We can now say that all military actions are being coordinated by these two parties", Oytun Orhan, an expert on the Middle East, told Sputnik Turkey.

The province is one of four such de-escalation zones agreed upon across Syria.

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

Also, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters late Saturday that Turkish observers would deploy in safe areas with no risk.

Along with Iraq's central government, Turkey, the US, Iran, and the United Nations have spoken out against Monday's illegitimate poll, warning it would distract from the ongoing fight against ISIS and further destabilize the region.

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"The fighters number in the thousands and there are Turkish soldiers participating", he added, without giving further details.

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".

[3] Aljazeera.com. (2017). Erdogan: Turkey backing FSA rebels in new Idlib push.

And it has seen its ranks rapidly depleted in advance of the expected Turkish operation, with its coalition now effectively reduced back down to Fateh Al Sham.

The Syrian Observatory in the last week has repeatedly accused Syria and Russian Federation of carrying out deadly air strikes in Idlib province with heavy civilian losses. Turkey has supported and backed rebels that seek the toppling of Assad.

Civilians in Idlib have been subjected to an escalation of bombardment of hospitals and infrastructure by the Russian Federation and Iran-backed Assad regime, prompting the hashtag #IdlibisBurning.

Idlib and surrounding areas of northwest Syria are among the largest bastions for rebel groups fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad, but have increasingly fallen under the sway of insurgent factions.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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