Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Thursday that Ankara was sending troops to Syria’s Idlib to control the region.
"We are dispatching additional troops to Idlib to maintain a ceasefire and control the region. We will use military force against those who violate the ceasefire, including radicals," Anadolu Agency quotes him as saying.
According to Akar, "Turkey’s observation posts [in Idlib] will continue to play an important role in ensuring control of the situation." "The goal of beefing up our presence in Idlib is to maintain a permanent ceasefire," he stressed.
Ankara has been sending troops to the Turkish-Syrian border and Syria’s idlib province on a daily basis over the past ten days. According to regional experts’ estimates, an unprecedented number of military equipment has been redeployed over the past few days, TASS reports.
Turkey is taking these steps because of the deteriorating situation in Idlib. That occurred after the Russian and Turkish militaries made another attempt to declare a ceasefire, but terrorists intensified their attacks. Russian and Turkish military experts were killed as a result. The Syrian army retaliated against extremists, capturing the city of Saraqib on February 5. On February 7, Turkey’s Milliyet reported citing a military source that three of twelve Turkish observation posts were located in territories controlled by Damascus.
On Wednesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that the deployment of new Turkish contingents, weapons and ammunition transported across the Turkish-Syrian border contributed to the aggravation of the situation in Idlib. The Syrian government troops’ actions are a response to terrorists attacks and provocations, the Defense Ministry said.
On February 11, the Syrian opposition backed by Turkey launched massive attacks against the Syrian army in the areas close to Saraqib and the inhabited community of al-Nayrab located north of that city in the Idlib province. Supporters of the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organization (outlawed in Russia) took an active part in the fighting. Syrian army units foiled these attacks, with militants sustaining heavy losses.