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Turkey positions troops in Syria’s Idlib province

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Turkish troops on Friday entered the northern Syrian province of Idlib as part of the Astana agreement and started establishing observation posts, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

According to Turkish media, about 80 Turkish soldiers travelling in a convoy of 12 armored vehicles entered Idlib.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Friday that no one had the right to question Turkey’s actions regarding developments on its border, particularly the military operation in Syria’s Idlib province.

A statement on the Turkish military presence in Idlib was issued by the General Staff.

“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,” said the military in the statement.

The de-escalation zone forms part of an agreement reached in Astana between Turkey, which backs forces battling the government of President Bashar al-Assad, and Iran and Russia, which support his government.

Turkey with Free Syrian Army forces took control of the Jarablus and Al Bab areas in northern Syria during an operation against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants between August 2016, and March 2017.

More than 70 soldiers were lost during Operation Euphrates Shield, which was evaluated as a strategic move to prevent unification of areas controlled by the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).

Erdoğan on Oct. 8 said Turkey would not allow a Kurdish corridor in Syria extending along the Turkish border to the Mediterranean while assessing Turkish military operations in the Idlib region of Syria.

“We have to prevent a terror corridor that was planned from the furthest east [in Syria] to the Mediterranean. We will not permit it. If we allow it we will face a new Kobani. Sorry about that. We will not let it happen again,” he said.

“Afrin [a Kurdish canton in northern Syria] is indeed a PYD project to reach the Mediterranean Sea. We will not permit a terror corridor in northern Syria having access to the Mediterranean. We will intervene whatever the cost,” said Erdoğan in another statement on Aug. 23.

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