Turkey’s military says it has started to survey Syria’s Idlib

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Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail| 10 October 2017| 19 Muharram 1439

Turkey’s armed forces launched a reconnaissance mission in Syria’s Idlib province on Sunday, the military confirmed on Monday.

The scouting operation comes ahead of an expected military operation in the bitterly contested Syrian northwest.

“The Turkish armed forces began reconnaissance activities on October 8 [Sunday] to establish surveillance posts as part of the operation to be carried out in Idlib province,” the statement said.

The move is in line with the rules of engagement agreed in the Astana process, referring to an agreement reached last month in the Kazakhstan capital.

Turkey’s border security
Turkey has been a key supporter of rebels fighting forces loyal to Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad during the six-and-a-half-year war.

But Ankara’s focus has moved from ousting him to securing its own border against threats.
“When we don’t go to Syria, Syria comes to us,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told members of his ruling AK Party on Sunday.

“If we didn’t take our measures, bombs would fall on our cities.”

The president reiterated that his country would not “allow” any “terror corridor” on its southern borders.

Control of Idlib
Much of Idlib province, including Maaret al Numan, is controlled by Hayat Tahrir al Sham (HTS).
But the HTS is not party to the Astana agreement.

HTS, spearheaded by the former Nusra Front, which was Al Qaeda’s Syrian branch until last year when it changed its name and said it broke allegiance to the global network, has been a formidable military force in the conflict.

Earlier this year, the group battled other rebel fronts as it tried to gain control over areas including Idlib.

Source – TRT World