Turkey dispatches new military convoy to Syria's Idlib: SOHR
Iran Press TV
Thursday, 02 January 2020 3:30 PM
Turkey has brought in a new column of military forces and hardware to be deployed in its observation posts in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib, only days after Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said the Turkish military will not leave the posts, a Britain-based war monitor says.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that the column entered the Syrian territory through Kafr Lusin border crossing, and consisted of armored vehicles as well as trucks carrying logistics.
On Sunday, Akar said it is "out of the question" for Turkey to evacuate its military observation posts in Syria's Idlib.
"We respect the agreement reached with Russia and we expect Russia to abide by this agreement," he said in comments published on Sunday on the Turkish defense ministry's Twitter account.
Hulusi added, "We will by no means empty those 12 observation posts, we will not leave there."
His comments came during a visit a day earlier to the southern province of Hatay on the Syrian border to inspect Turkish troops.
The Turkish defense minister went on to say Ankara expected Russia to "use its influence" on the Damascus government "in order to stop ground and air assault" in Idlib.
On December 26 last year, the Observatory, citing local sources, reported that a Turkish military convoy had entered Syria.
The sources said the convoy comprised of at least 85 vehicles, part of which headed towards Turkish observation posts in al-Iss town, which is located in the Mount Simeon district of Aleppo, and the rest went towards al-Rashidin district.
On October 9, Turkish military forces and Ankara-backed militants launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion of northeastern Syria in a declared attempt to push militants from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) away from border areas.
Ankara views the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.
On October 22, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a memorandum of understanding that asserted YPG militants had to withdraw from the Turkish-controlled "safe zone" in northeastern Syria within 150 hours, after which Ankara and Moscow would run joint patrols around the area.
The announcement was made hours before a US-brokered five-day truce between Turkish and Kurdish-led forces was due to expire.
Syrian army thwarts militant attacks on liberated towns in Idlib
Separately, Syrian government forces have managed to foil separate attacks by foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants on military posts in two liberated towns in the Ma'arrat al-Nu'man district of Idlib.
Syrian government forces pose for a photograph in the village of Sarman, Idlib province, northwestern Syria, after liberating it from the clutches of foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants. (Photo by SANA)
Syria's official news agency SANA reported that Syrian army units thwarted the assaults in the towns of al-Tah and Jarjnaz on Thursday.
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