Military says soldiers will establish observation posts to reinforce cease-fire
Turkish troops have crossed into Syria’s Idlib province to monitor de-escalation zones that aim to bring an end to the six-and-a-half-year conflict, the military said Friday.
Military convoys crossed from Reyhanli in southern Turkey’s Hatay province on Thursday night.
In a statement, the Turkish Armed Forces said soldiers had begun establishing observation points.
“Turkish Armed Forces elements that are to serve in the Idlib de-escalation zone have started their activities by establishing observation posts from Oct. 12, 2017, as part of the Astana agreement…
“The Turkish Armed Forces continue to carry out their duties in the territory within the engagement rules agreed by the guarantor countries in the Astana negotiations.”
At the weekend, reconnaissance teams entered Idlib province as part of an international agreement to establish four de-escalation zones across Syria.
The operation in the northwestern region was launched under a May deal between Turkey, which backs groups opposed to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and Russia and Iran, who support Assad.
The agreement aims to ensure the continuation of a cease-fire agreed last December between the three guarantor nations.
According to the military statement, the de-escalation zones were created to “enhance the effectiveness of the cease-fire regime, end conflicts, bring humanitarian aid to those in need [and] establish the necessary conditions for the return of those displaced”.
Turkey’s latest military intervention follows Operation Euphrates Shield, which saw the Free Syrian Army, backed by Turkish forces, clear Daesh from territory in northern Syria between August 2016 and March.