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Turkish troops enter northern Syria in new operation

Final destination unclear as convoy of armoured carriers carrying about 80 soldiers crosses the border to enter Idlib.

Turkish forces

Turkish troops travelling in a convoy of 12 armoured vehicles have entered northern Syria in a new military operation.

Turkish news media reported that the vehicles carrying the troops crossed into Idlib province late on Thursday.

The development came after Turkey said it was sending troops into Syria to enforce a de-escalation zone in Idlib, which is largely controlled by the Hay'et Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) alliance.

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

Turkish media sources said the convoy included about 80 soldiers.

Local sources said the troops were headed towards the western part of Aleppo province.

Civilians there have been living in fear of potential clashes between Turkish-backed opposition Free Syrian Army fighters and HTS.

A military build-up has taken place of late along Turkey's border with Syria, with the Turkish government supporting a campaign to secure opposition control over Idlib province.

The Turkish army began setting up "observation posts" in Idlib province as part of its efforts to create a de-escalation zone, the military said on Friday.

"On October 12 (Thursday), we began activities to establish observation posts," the military said in a statement.


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