Turkey declared on Sat­ur­day that rebel Syr­i­an groups had launched a mil­i­tary oper­a­tion in Idlib Syr­ia, where a Dji­hadist alliance is block­ing efforts for an imposed truce between insur­gents and the Syr­i­an government.

Idlib and the neigh­bor­ing regions in North­west­ern Syr­ia are among the biggest bas­tions for rebel groups fight­ing against Bashar al-Assad, but they are increas­ing­ly marked by insurec­tion­al Dji­hadist factions.

Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Tayyip Erdoğan declared that the oper­a­tion, part of a ramp­ing down agree­ment between Turkey, Iran and Rus­sia, would involve rebel Syr­i­an groups cross­ing Idlib, with sup­port from Turk­ish sol­diers from with­in Turkey’s borders.

There is a seri­ous oper­a­tion under­way in Idlib today and it will con­tin­ue”, Erdoğan declared dur­ing a speech before his Party.

Now this step has been tak­en and it is under­way”, he declared, adding that Turk­ish forces were not involved and this was a rebel oper­a­tion for the time being.
Rus­sia, an ally of Assad, is sup­port­ing the oper­a­tion from the air, he added.

An impor­tant part of Idlib is con­trolled by the Dji­hadist alliance Tahrir al-Sham, led by a for­mer Al Quae­da sub­sidiary which change dits name to the Nus­ra Front last year.
“We will nev­er allow a ter­ror­ist cor­ri­dor on our bor­ders with Syr­ia”, Erdoğan declared. “We will pur­sue oth­er ini­tia­tives after the Idlib oper­a­tion”.

Tahrir al-Sham has pledged to con­tin­ue the fight against the Syr­i­an gov­ern­men­tal forces and thi­er allies, rais­ing doubt on the dis-align­ment, but Ankara has worked at attract­ing mil­i­tants and the two groups have defied the Dji­hadist alliance.

Turkey launched an incur­sion into Syr­ia east of Idlib last year, sup­port­ing groups of the Free Syr­i­an Army (FSA) in the “Euphrates Shield” oper­a­tion against the Islam­ic State and Kur­dish groups.

Erdoğan declared last month that Turkey would deploy troops in the province of Idlib as part of the ramp­ing-down agree­ment nego­ti­at­ed by Rus­sia in August.

Trans­lat­ed from ROJINFO « La Turquie com­mence une “opéra­tion sérieuse” à Idlib », Octo­ber 7 2017

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