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Turkish forces enter Idlib in northern Syria

A joint military drill conducted by Turkish Armed Forces with the participation of Iraqi army troops in Sirnak province, Turkey on 30 September 2017 [Fatih Aktaş/Anadolu Agency]

After days of reconnaissance, a convoy of Turkish troops entered Syrian territory late last night and reached the suburbs of Idlib via Kafr Lusin. The convoy is heading towards the Aleppo suburbs in preparation for deployment in north-west Syria.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Turkish troops which entered Syria have started preparations to enforce a de-escalation zone in the west of the country.

Last week, the Turkish army announced that it reconnoitred around Idlib in order to enforce the de-escalation zone. This is an attempt to reduce tension in the area, in accordance with the agreements reached during the peace talks in Astana aiming to end the conflict in Syria.

The head of the Observatory, Rami Abdulrahman, said that this is the first deployment of Turkish forces after the reconnaissance group a few days ago. He did not mention the number of troops deployed, but pointed out that "deployment will take place in western Aleppo, near areas under the control of the Kurdish YPG forces," which Ankara considers to be a terrorist organisation.

Turkey's Anadolu news agency reported last night that several armoured personnel carriers and ambulances arrived in the border town of Reyhanli in preparation for the deployment.

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