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Turkey cooperates with Russian Federation in military operation in Syria's Idlib
09 October 2017, 12:39 | Floyd Cook
Turkey prepared to retake Syria's northern strategic city
President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday Turkey was implementing a deal agreed with Russian Federation and Iran to reduce violence in Syria's northern province of Idlib, in cooperation with Free Syrian Army rebel fighters.
Speaking Sunday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the de-escalation zones would be applied in Idlib with "Russia outside, Turkey inside" with Syrian opposition fighters it backs.
"Turkey will be providing protection inside Idlib while the security beyond the borders of Idlib will be provided by Russian Federation", he said. (2017). Turkey starting "serious operation" in Syria's Idlib, says Erdogan.
"We won't allow a terror corridor along our Syrian border", he said, adding that the operation aims to provide security for Idlib.
He pointed out that bringing peace to Syria requires both military and political actions, and now there are three countries, namely Russia, Turkey and Iran, that can resolve the Syrian crisis.
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. Turkey, however, has backed rebels seeking Assad's ouster.
Meanwhile, the HTS said entering Idlib by the Turkish-backed rebels "will not be a picnic".
Tahrir al-Sham has pledged to keep fighting Syrian government forces and their allies, casting doubt on the de-escalation agreement, but Ankara has worked to lure militants from it and two groups have defected from the jihadist alliance.
Much of Idlib is controlled by the jihadist Tahrir al-Sham alliance, spearheaded by a former al Qaeda affiliate that changed its name a year ago from the Nusra Front.
The intermittent clashes were reported near the town of Kafr-Lusin on the border in the northern countryside of Idlib province in northwestern Syria, Xinhua cited local media as reporting.
Earlier Sunday, Mustafa Sejari, spokesman for a Turkey-backed Syrian armed group, said Turkish artillery responded with shells after coming under attack from al-Qaida-linked fighters across the border.
Idlib became one of the most heavily populated areas in Syria after the Assad regime wrestled control of Aleppo from rebels in late 2016, driving displaced Syrians to the province.
"Today a landmark operation is underway in Idlib, and this will continue".
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