Turkish troops coordinate actions in Idlib, Syria with Russian Federation - prime minister

Turkish troops coordinate actions in Idlib, Syria with Russian Federation - prime minister

The statement comes a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkish Army forces were preparing to join the efforts spearheaded by the Free Syrian Army to drive Islamists out of the area.

"We won't allow a terror corridor along our Syrian border", he said, adding that the operation aims to provide security for Idlib.

Turkey has been negotiating with Assad allies Iran and Russian Federation to establish de-escalation zones in Syria. "Today there's a serious operation in Idlib and this will continue, because we have to extend a hand to our brothers in Idlib", the president said.

Turkish military vehicles crossed the Syrian border into Idlib on Sunday, a local resident and a local rebel said, after Ankara announced an operation by rebel groups in the area, which is controlled by rival jihadist alliance Tahrir al-Sham.

Erdogan said that Russian Federation is backing the operation from the air and Turkish soldiers from inside the Turkish border.

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While the Nusra front was formed as an off-shoot of al Qaeda, the militia changed its name and denounced its allianceto the terror network previous year, but the separation has been dismissed by many experts as largely superficial.

He pointed out that bringing peace to Syria requires both military and political actions, and now there are three countries, namely Russia, Turkey and Iran, that can resolve the Syrian crisis.

"If you take one step towards us, we will take two towards you", he said.

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.

The main objective of the operation is to establish a "de-escalation" zone in the province of Idlib.

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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.

The remarks came as reports emerged of deployment of Turkish commando units along western Syrian border.

Fighting broke out on the border of Turkey and the Syrian province of Idlib on Sunday ahead of a Turkish advance into the region.

Two waves of air strikes on Idlib killed at least 13 civilians over the past 24 hours, a Britain-based monitoring group said on Saturday.

Rami Abdulrahman, head of the Observatory, said that the rebel alliance was sending reinforcements to the border area.

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