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Turkey Backs 'Major Operation' in Syria's Idlib Province

07 October 2017

"At the moment the Free Syrian Army is operating there (inside Syria), our troops are not there yet", Erdogan said, quoted by the Dogan news agency.

Speaking at the Justice and Development Party (AK Party)'s consultative meeting in western Turkey's Afyonkarahisar, the president said: "Today a landmark operation is underway in Idlib, and this will continue".

Ankara launched Operation Euphrates Shield against Daesh previous year on August 24, backing FSA forces inside Syria, and recaptured several towns near its border from the terror group, including Jarablus, al-Rai, Dabiq and al-Bab.

Turkey has completed preparations for new military operations in Syria against the Kurdish YPG (People's Protection Units) terrorist group, Turkish media reported October 7 quoting sources in the country's General Staff.

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

Erdogan said Saturday that Turkey will not abandon the many civilians who fled to Idlib from Aleppo, where violent fighting took place a year ago.

Media reports have pointed to a heavy deployment of military hardware and personnel by the Turkish army to its southern border area in recent weeks.

It is not clear what role the Turkish military in playing in the operation.

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Meanwhile, a series of airstrikes by Russian jets in the past 24 hours had killed about 120 Islamic State fighters and 60 foreign mercenaries in Syria, the defence ministry in Moscow said on Saturday.

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 Al-Qaeda-linked insurgent factions.

Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the observatory, said the strikes were probably carried out by the Syrian air force.

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