The Turkish Armed Forces (TAF), which is preparing for a security operation in Syria’s Idlib, has instructed the groups linked to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to be prepared.
Turkish troops who will ensure security in the region will initially be accompanied by over 5,000 FSA troops. The only pending detail of the operation is the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) opposition group.
The Syrian side of the Hatay-Idlib borderline, where Turkish forces continue to deploy military reinforcements, has lately seen a great increase in activity.
The FSA and TAF conducted the Operation Euphrates Shield to improve security, support coalition forces and eliminate the terror threat along the Turkish border.
The Idlib security operation will take place in the Euphrates Shield region and at the Idlib-Lattakia-Hama line.
Turkey amasses tanks along Syria border
Turkey has amassed 80 tracked military vehicles, including tanks as part of its military reinforcements along its southern border with Syria, according to a military source Sunday.The military vehicles were brought to the border line near southern Hatay province’s Iskenderun district.The new deployment is part of a fresh reinforcement for troops already stationed there, the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, said.On Saturday, the army also dispatched a number of heavy equipment, first aid trucks and military vehicles to the same district.Another convoy of armored vehicles was heading towards Hatay’s Rehyanli district along the Syrian border, the source added.
The FSA forces have undergone a restructuring. Brigades, battalions and divisions are now united under a "mass" roof. In the Euphrates Shield region, the Feylak al-Sham and Sultan Murat Masses joined to form an army and work with the FSA and TAF.
Approximately 8,000 FSA members were trained according to military standards. FSA troops have completed the majority of their vehicle, weapons and equipment preparations in accordance with the instruction regarding the Idlib operation given by the TAF three days ago.
GROUPS, KEY FIGURES ABANDONING HTS
HTS, which is formed of six large and 14 smaller opposition groups, controls many points across Idlib. HTS, which has approximately 15,000 troops, was formed from the al-Nusra Front.
Turkey: We will not allow a terror corridor in Iraq, Syria
Turkish Armed Forces’ Chief of the General Staff Hulusi Akar on Sept. 16 attended the NATO Military Committee Chiefs of Defense Meeting held in Tirana, Albania. Akar, meeting with his U.S. counterpart Joseph Dunford, stated that Turkey will not allow a terror corridor covering the northern regions of Syria and Iraq.Expressing Turkey’s discomfort of the United States’ support to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist organization, Akar reminded his counterpart that Turkish troops will provide security in the Syria’s Idlib. He also met with the Italian, British and Romanian chiefs of staff at the NATO meeting.At least 2 PKK terrorists killed in southeast TurkeyUS sends arms worth $2.2 bln to terrorist organizations in Syria
The group has announced that it would not recognize the decisions taken at the Astana peace talks in Kazakhstan and that it would initiate armed resistance in case of an intervention in Idlib.
Abdullah Muhaysini and Muslih al-Aliyani, two of the most important names of the HTS, declared that they left the group.
Constituent groups Nureddin Zengi and Gogel Kefranbul, which have approximately 6,000 fighters, also abandoned HTS.
Blasts kill 6 in Syria’s Idlib
At least six people were killed in a series of blasts that hit the opposition-held Idlib city in northwestern Syria on Wednesday, a pro-opposition Syrian civil defense official said.Mohamed Hajj Yusuf, head of Syrian civil defense in Idlib, told Anadolu Agency that one person was also critically injured in the explosions that took place in the central part of the city.Yusuf added that cause of the blasts remains unknown.Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.The conflict escalated in 2014 after Daesh overran vast swathes of territory in both Syria and Iraq, where -- despite a string of recent losses -- it still maintains a significant presence.
NUSRA FRONT TO BE ISOLATED
Sources on the field claim that when the Idlib operation is launched, many more groups and figures will withdraw from the HTS.
Thousands of fighters on the Idlib-Hama-Lattakia front and Aleppo countryside have refused to fight against the TAF, and have said that they will join the TAF forces once the operation is initiated.
It is believed that the probable HTS resistance against the operation will only last a few days, and that at the end of a week, the TAF will be positioned at the targeted regions. East Turkestan fighters who play a critical role in the Idlib equation have withdrawn from the Hama-Sahil al-Gab region.
Control forces to be deployed in Idlib’s de-escalation zone: foreign ministry
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Friday made a statement on its official website, regarding the agreement on Idlib at the Astana summit between Russia, Iran and Turkey on Sept. 15.“Turkey, as the guarantor of the opposition, had a determining role in realizing the agreement, considering the approach and evaluations of the opposition groups in the field, during the negotiation process regarding the de-escalation zone in Idlib,” the statement read.The statement also said that observers from the three countries will be deployed at the check and observation points to be established in safe zones that forms the borders of the de-escalation zones in Idlib.Turkey, Russia and Iran will deploy 500 observers each to Idlib, according to reports.Turkey, Russia, Iran agree on Idlib de-escalation zone at Astana summitSeventh meeting at the end of OctoberKazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov stated that the seventh Astana meeting will be held at the end of October.The zones where controlling forces will be deployed are set to be determined in the upcoming technical meetings, sources said. The borders of the de-escalation zone in Idlib was also decided in the Astana meeting.Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests. Since then, more than 250,000 people have been killed and more than 10 million were displaced, according to the UN.Idlib to be protected by 25,000 Turkish, FSA troops
Turkey, Russia, Iran agree on Idlib de-escalation zone at Astana summit
An agreement emerged between the three guarantor countries – Turkey, Russia and Iran – regarding the de-escalation zones in Idlib on Friday.The agreement that emerged from the sixth round of peace talks aimed at ending the Syria conflict in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana is the establishment of de-escalation zones in Idlib.The agreement was reached on the second day of the peace talks between the guarantor countries, the Syrian opposition and the regime delegation.Deputy Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sedat Önal, the head of the Turkish team, and his delegation met with the Syrian opposition on early Friday morning.Military opposition sources said that Turkish and Russian forces will be positioned between the opposition in Idlib and regime forces in Idlib's east.Idlib to be protected by 25,000 Turkish, FSA troopsU.S. and Jordan representatives, who are attending the talks as observers, are also holding meetings.On May 4, Moscow, Ankara and Tehran agreed to set up four de-escalation zones in Syria.According to the agreement, the zones -- in which acts of aggression are nominally prohibited -- would cover the city of Idlib and certain parts of Latakia, Homs, Aleppo and Hama provinces, along with Damascus, Eastern Ghouta, Daraa and Quneitra.Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests. Since then, more than 250,000 people have been killed and more than 10 million were displaced, according to the UN.Russia's Lavrov and US Tillerson discuss SyriaUS sends arms worth $2.2 bln to terrorist organizations in SyriaMore Syria peace talks begin in KazakhstanRussia, Turkey, Iran close to Syria de-escalation zones deal
Idlib to be protected by 25,000 Turkish, FSA troops
Critical decisions regarding the fate of Syria’s opposition-held Idlib were made during the sixth round of Syria peace talks, which began on Sept. 14, aimed at ending the Syria conflict in Kazakhstan's capital Astana.In the province where the U.S. is preparing to attack with the excuse of al-Qaeda, Turkey, Russia and Iran-backed forces will provide security.The areas to be controlled by Turkish troops in Idlib, who have been preparing for an operation in the area for an extended period of time, became clear in Astana. Turkish troops will pass through Hatay’s Yayladağı and Reyhanlı districts and enter 35 to 50 kilometers into Idlib in the operation due to start this month.Russia, Turkey, Iran close to Syria de-escalation zones dealAPPROXIMATELY 25,000 TROOPS TO ENTER IDLIBThe area of the operation, which will be at least 35 kilometers wide and 130 kilometers long, is the western part of Idlib overlooking Hatay. In the map, which is divided into three regions, the part belonging to the Turkish troops and the Free Syrian Army is the third region.Turkish troops will ensure the safety and security of Idlib’s population of 2 million that has been exposed to the horrors of civil war and massacres. The operation can be launched at any time.The number of troops taking part in the operation along with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) will reach 25,000. The forces that will trek through Jisr al-Shughur in Idlib’s south and Dar az-Izza in Idlib’s west will control close to 5,000 square kilometers.More Syria peace talks begin in KazakhstanTAF CONTROL OVER MULTIPLE REGIONSThe area controlled by the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) will include the Taftanaz Airport and the highest mountain of the region, Jabal Arbain, as well as other strategic points.Turkish troops will be able to monitor Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists in Afrin and terror formations in Latakia, as they will be positioned in strategic points in Idlib and Aleppo.Among the regions that will be controlled by Turkey are points such as Jabal Arbain, Taftanaz, Jisr al-Shughur, Ariha, Maarat al-Numaan, and Khan Sheikhoun.ASTANA PROVIDING SOLUTIONSThe head of the Turkish delegation, Deputy Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sedat Önal, chaired meetings between Turkey, Russia and Iran’s delegations at the Astana summit in Kazakhstan's capital.At the head of the Russian delegation is President Vladimir Putin’s Syria Representative Alexander Lavrentiev, and Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Cabiri Ensari is leading the Iranian team.David M. Satterfield represented the U.S. as an observer at the meeting. It is believed that the most important resolutions for the formation of de-escalation zones in Syria will be taken at this session.According to the agreement, the zones, in which acts of aggression are nominally prohibited, would cover the city of Idlib and certain parts of Latakia, Homs, Aleppo and Hama provinces, along with Damascus, Eastern Ghouta, Daraa and Quneitra.Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests. Since then, more than 250,000 people have been killed and in excess of 10 million displaced, according to the UN.Russia's Lavrov and US Tillerson discuss SyriaMore Syria peace talks begin in KazakhstanPKK-Barzani to form joint terror state