Turkish soldiers cross into Syria’s Idlib province
October 11, 2017 -- Turkey has sent troops across the border into Syria’s Idlib province as part of a joint mission with Russia to monitor a de-escalation agreement and clear the region of Al-Qaeda-linked extremists.
Turkish newspapers cited military sources as saying that around 500 soldiers will be stationed at 14 observation posts in western Idlib and will stay there for about six months, while Russian troops will be stationed in the more populous eastern part of the province.
Idlib is mostly controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a former Al-Qaeda affiliate which is not party to the internationally-brokered ceasefire deal agreed earlier this year between the Syrian government and more moderate rebel groups.
Turkey previously deployed troops to northern Syria in 2016 as part of Operation Euphrates Shield, aimed at clearing so-called Islamic State militants from a strip of territory on its border – and also prevent U.S.-backed Kurdish militias from expanding their control.