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Turkey will not allow a terror corridor along its borders, Erdoğan says

09 October 2017

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said the operation, part of a de-escalation deal agreed between Turkey, Iran and Russian Federation, will involve Syrian rebel groups crossing into Idlib supported by Turkish soldiers from inside Turkey's borders.

Erdogan said in an earlier speech that a major military operation was underway in the Syria's northwest province of Idlib, which Free Syrian Army rebel groups said they were preparing to enter with Turkish backing.

Turkey is cooperating with Russian Federation during its military operation in Syria's northern Idlib province, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Sunday. "Now, this step has been taken, and it is under way".

The spokesman noted that the establishment of a de-escalation zone in rebel-held Idlib Province would start in the coming days. Erdogan announced on Saturday that Turkey was conducting an anti-terror operation in Syria's Idlib.

On Sunday morning, HTS fighters opened fire on Turkish forces who were removing a section of the border wall with bulldozers, eyewitnesses and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said.

The Arab country has been fighting different foreign-sponsored militant and terrorist groups since March 2011.

Turkey has been building up its forces close to the Bab al-Hawa border crossing for weeks, in anticipation of a military operation into the territory.

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Turkey has been amassing troops on the border to support the effort, with several of its top generals inspecting the preparations, the military said.

The action in Idlib comes after guarantor countries - Russia, Turkey, and Iran - agreed to establish de-escalation zones in Syria during a meeting in Kazakh capital Astana on May 4.

"For now the Free Syrian Army is carrying out the operation there", he said.

He said if Turkey had not acted "bombs would fall on our cities".

The intermittent clashes were reported near the town of Kafr-Lusin on the border in the northern countryside of Idlib province in northwestern Syria, Xinhua cited local media as reporting.

Idlib is the last remaining area in northern Syria where anti-Assad rebel groups have a foothold.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron discussed the current situation in Syria and Iraq via phone on Saturday.

Turkey will not allow a terror corridor along its borders, Erdoğan says