Turkey-backed rebels in new Syria operation - Erdogan

Activists and residents of Maaret al-Numan in southern Idlib said the airstrike in the town's market, killed and wounded several people.

Sejari said the operation aims to deploy Turkish-backed opposition fighters in the province now dominated by al-Qaida-linked militants.

Meanwhile, the "final large fight" in Iraq against the Islamic State group will take place on the border with Syria, a general in a US-led coalition against the militants said Saturday.

Sofge said some 2,000 IS fighters were still in the area.

The Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) is bracing to enter Syria's northwestern province of Idlib in the next hours, activists said Saturday.


The troop movement is part of a joint mission between Turkey, Russia and Iran to monitor a de-escalation zone in Syria and remove a stronghold of former al-Qaida militants from the area.

NTV reported that Erdogan told reporters after his speech that Russian Federation was backing the operation from the air, while Turkish soldiers were supporting it from inside Turkish borders.

"We are taking new steps to ensure security in Idlib".

HTS has pledged to keep fighting Syrian regime forces and their allies, casting doubt on the de-escalation agreement, but Ankara has worked to lure militants from it, and two groups have defected from the alliance.

Erdogan said Sunday that Turkey would not allow a "terror corridor" by the Kurdish militia aiming to link its territories from eastern Syria to the Mediterranean.


"We will never allow the formation of a terror corridor along our border with Syria", Erdogan said, adding that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) were now supporting the FSA from within Turkey's borders, while the Russian air force was providing air support to the operation "protecting outside the borders (of the Idlib region)".

Entering Idlib by the Turkish-backed rebels and possibly Turkish forces comes in the context of the de-escalation zone deal, which was concluded between Russian Federation and Turkey in the recent sixth round of Astana talks on Syria.

"The amendments to the FTA were harmonized last week and will become official during the upcoming visit of the Turkish state and business delegation to Serbia", Cadez said.

The military operations are expected to be held jointly with troops of the Free Syrian Army.



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