Turkey-backed rebels in new Syria operation - Erdogan

Operation Idlib

Turkey prepared to retake Syria's northern strategic city

"There is a serious operation in Syria's Idlib today, and this will continue", Erdogan told party supporters on Saturday morning.

"Since we do not allow any operations against our own country, we will also not allow any operations against the territorial integrity of our neighbors", he said.

The firefights come a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced plans for military intervention in Idlib province, where HTS militants drove out Ankara-backed rebels in July.

"We will not allow a terrorist corridor to be established on our border", Erdogan said in his address.

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A rebel commander participating in the operation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP in Beirut that "all the rebel groups" who took part in Euphrates Shield are participating in the latest operation.

The Turkish army has always been reinforcing its military deployment on the Syrian border in case of a threat to its territory. The Turkish leader's coordination with Russian Federation and Iran comes amid deepening tensions with the US, exacerbated by Washington's decision to deliver arms to Kurdish groups that Turkey views as terrorists.

The newly launched operation is regarded as a strong push for establishing the fourth zone, to be set up in Idlib.

Along with Iraq's central government, Turkey, the US, Iran, and the United Nations have spoken out against Monday's illegitimate poll, warning it would distract from the ongoing fight against ISIS and further destabilize the region. The zone would be monitored by Turkish soldiers. "The goal of the operation is to liberate Idlib fully from Tahrir al-Sham".

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Afer those talks Putin declared the right conditions now existed to end the over six-year civil war that has killed an estimated 330,000 people since 2011.

Moscow has been carrying out air raids in support of its ally Damascus targeting both ISIL in Deir Az Zor province and rival groups led by al-Qaeda's former Syria affiliate in Idlib province in the northwest.

According to the agreement on the Idlib de-escalation zone, Russia's military policemen will maintain security outside Idlib and Turkey will deploy its troops inside Idlib. Turkish shelling hit near a camp for displaced civilians by the border, prompting some to flee the area, it said, and HTS fighters also shelled a Turkish position near the Bab al- Hawa border crossing.

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