Turkey aims to prevent conflict in Syria's Idlib: FM

Turkey aims to prevent conflict in Syria's Idlib: FM

Turkey aims to prevent conflict in Syria's Idlib: FM

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced the start of Turkish military operation into Syria's Idlib province.

The tension came a day after Turkey's president announced that his country has launched a "serious" operation in Syria's northwestern Idlib province with Turkey-backed Syrian opposition forces, following global efforts for de-escalation in the war-torn country.

Turkey is cooperating with Russian Federation during its military operation in Syria's northern Idlib province, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Sunday. The necessary step was taken and it is ongoing.

"Today, there's a serious operation in Idlib and it will continue..."

The operation is led by Turkish-supported Free Syrian Army rebels. There are no known plans by the Kurdish forces to take on al-Qaida-linked militants in Idlib.

"We deny any involvement of the Russian air forces in the upcoming Syrian Free Army operations".

Erdogan also said Turkey would not be allowed to be "cornered by threats from Syria and Iraq".

The state-run Anadolu news agency identified the consulate employee as a male Turkish citizen and said he was arrested late on Wednesday on charges of espionage and attempts to damage the constitutional order and Turkey's government.

Security in Idlib will be provided by Turkey with Russia, Erdogan said Saturday, without elaborating further.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is not party to a deal brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran for the safe zone in Idlib province, one of four such "de-escalation" zones in Syria.

Turkey has long opposed any political transition under him, but Russia's intervention in Syria's civil war shored up the president after years of Turkish and US insistence that he must go.

Reports suggest a large military deployment on Turkey's southern border and residents near the Bab al-Hawa crossing told Reuters that a section of frontier wall had been removed.

Syria's former Al Qaeda affiliate was once a key ally for many rebels but they are now abandoning it as the jihadists face a Turkey-backed operation in its stronghold.

Russia, along with Iran, is the key backer of President Bashar al-Assad and Moscow's military intervention inside Syria is widely seen as tipping the balance in the conflict.

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