Turkey forces clash with Tahrir al-Sham in Syria

Oct 09, 2017, 00:24
Turkey forces clash with Tahrir al-Sham in Syria

"There's a serious operation in Syria's Idlib today and it will continue", Erdogan said in a speech to his AK Party in the western city of Afyon. Solid steps will be taken in the coming days following discussions between the parties this week, Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told state-run TRT television on Thursday.

HTS wants to continue fighting the government despite the establishment of "de-escalation zones".

Commenting on the coordination with Russia, Erdogan said: "Relations with the regime is something looked after by Russia, and we have taken measures in other areas".

Three of the safe zones have been created to date in Syria's central province of Homs, in the Eastern Ghouta area of the southern Rif Dimashq province, and a southwestern militant-controlled stretch along the border with Jordan.

The Free Syrian Army is a rebel group comprising Syrian military defectors and rebel groups opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime. Turkey has threatened to clear the province of Kurdish forces that it regards as belonging to a terrorist group with links to the PKK, which has long battled for autonomy in Turkey's southeast.

"We will never allow a terror corridor along our borders in Syria", Erdogan said.

The FSA units are expected to cross from Turkey into Syria late Saturday, a commander from one of the participating rebel groups told CNN.

The Hurriyet daily said ultimately Turkey would ensure security in Idlib city and Russian Federation in the surrounding area.

Last month, Erdogan said Turkey would deploy troops in Syria's northwest Idlib as part of a de-escalation agreement brokered by Russian Federation in August.

Two waves of air strikes on Idlib killed at least 13 civilians over the past 24 hours, a Britain-based monitoring group said on Saturday.

"The Free Syrian Army with support from Turkish troops is in full readiness to enter the area but until this moment there is no movement", he said.

Moscow has been carrying out air raids in support of its ally Damascus targeting both ISIL in Deir Az Zor province and rival groups led by al-Qaeda's former Syria affiliate in Idlib province in the northwest. Turkey, however, has backed rebels seeking Assad's ouster.

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