Turkish army chief inspects troops near Syrian border

Turkish army chief inspects troops near Syrian border
# 13 October 2017 21:05 (UTC +04:00)

The Turkish army chief along with a military delegation visited a post in southern Turkey near the Syrian border on Friday where he also inspected troops, according to Anadolu Agency team at the scene, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.

Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar arrived in Reyhanli district in Hatay province from where military convoys crossed over into Syria’s Idlib province to monitor de-escalation zones that aim to bring an end to the six-and-a-half-year conflict.

Akar also went to the Cilvegozu Border Gate to inspect troops in a buffer zone.

Earlier Friday, soldiers began establishing observation points in Idlib, Turkish Armed Forces said.

“Turkish Armed Forces elements that are to serve in the Idlib de-escalation zone have started their activities by establishing observation posts from Oct. 12, 2017, as part of the Astana agreement…"

At the weekend, reconnaissance teams entered Idlib province as part of an international agreement to establish four de-escalation zones across Syria.

The operation in the northwestern region was launched under a May deal between Turkey, which backs groups opposed to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and Russia and Iran, who support Assad.

The agreement aims to ensure the continuation of a cease-fire agreed last December between the three guarantor nations.

According to the military statement, the de-escalation zones have been created to “enhance the effectiveness of the cease-fire regime, end conflicts, bring humanitarian aid to those in need [and] establish the necessary conditions for the return of those displaced”.

Turkey’s latest military intervention follows Operation Euphrates Shield, which saw the Free Syrian Army, backed by Turkish forces, clear Daesh from territory in northern Syria between August 2016 and March.