Turkey starting “serious operation” in Syria’s Idlib
ISTANBUL/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Turkey said on Saturday that it and Syrian rebel groups it backs are starting a military operation in Syria’s Idlib, where a jihadist alliance is blocking efforts to impose a truce between insurgents and the Syrian government.
Idlib and surrounding areas of northwest Syria are among the largest bastions for rebel groups fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but have increasingly fallen under the sway of jihadist insurgent factions.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said the operation, part of a de-escalation deal agreed between Turkey, Iran and Russia, will involve Syrian rebel groups crossing into Idlib supported by Turkish soldiers from inside Turkey’s borders.
“There’s a serious operation in Syria’s Idlib today and it will continue,” Erdogan said in a speech to his AK Party.
“Now this step has been taken, and it is underway,” he said, adding that Turkish forces were not yet involved and that it was a rebel operation so far.