Turkey keeps 37 military outposts in Idlib, Syria (+Photos)

Damascus, Feb 20 (Prensa Latina) The number of outposts established by the Turkish military in Idlib has reached 37, as per local media.

The Turkish forces built a new outpost near Basankoul, to the southwest of Idlib, in the M-4 highway running between Aleppo and Latakia, said the Al-Khabar TV station, with dozens of soldiers strengthened by artillery and armored vehicles dug in.According to the media outlet, the recent advance of the Syrian army in Aleppo and Idlib have left 13 Turkish outposts completely surrounded, eight in Idlib, four in Aleppo, and one in Hama.

Damascus considers the presence of Turkish troops in Syrian soil as aggression and occupation.

Meanwhile, Ankara has threatened to launch an offensive if the Syrian troops do not withdraw up to the frontline previous to the beginning of the offensive that freed northern and western Aleppo and nearly half of the province of Idlib.

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Russia will support Syria's fight against terrorism in Idlib despite Trump's calls to stop it – Kremlin

Moscow has vowed to continue its fight against terrorism in Syria's Idlib province alongside Damascus, even though this doesn't fit with Washington's vision for resolving the crisis.

Both the Russian Armed Forces and the country's advisers will "support the Syrian Arab Republic armed forces in their fight against terrorism," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in a briefing on February 17.

Referring to escalating terrorist attacks in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, he said that the Russian government "still regrets that these terrorists have revitalized in Idlib."

The statement follows US President Donald Trump's recent call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during which Trump "expressed concern over the violence in Idlib." He also praised "Turkey's efforts to prevent a humanitarian crisis" in the province, and hoped that Russia would stop supporting the Assad government, according to Deputy White House Press Secretary Judd Deere.

Also on rt.com Syrian army takes control over all villages around Aleppo, eliminating threat of terrorist shelling....

Tensions in the Idlib de-escalation zone have been steadily rising in recent weeks. On February 3, a Turkish armed convoy came under artillery fire, leaving five dead as a result. The tragedy occurred when the Syrian Army was conducting an operation against terrorists in the area, and was not notified of the convoy's movements, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

Ankara retaliated, firing on known Syrian Army positions, and sending additional troops into the de-escalation zone 10 days later. In response to the troop surge, Damascus officially recognized the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Empire. 

Erdogan and Russia's President Vladimir Putin also discussed the situation on the ground in a phonecall last week. The two leaders agreed that the Sochi agreement on the Idlib de-escalation zone must be fully implemented.

Also on rt.com Erdogan vows to strike Syrian army ‘everywhere’ if Turkish soldiers attacked, while also talking Idlib de-escalation with Putin


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Syria Nearly Hit Passenger Plane In Trying To Shoot Israeli Jets: Russia

Moscow: An Airbus A320 with 172 passengers on board made an emergency landing in Russia-controlled Khmeimim air base after Syrian air defence nearly hit it, Russian state news agency RIA said on Friday citing Russian defence ministry spokesman.

The Syrian air defence was trying to repulse an Israeli attack near Damascus, RIA said.

According to the spokesman, after 2 am, four Israeli F-16 fighter jets struck eight air-to-ground missiles in the suburbs of Damascus without entering Syrian airspace, RIA reported.

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Erdogan Threatens to Use Force Against Syrian Military in Idlib

Erdogan has accused Russia of not fulfilling its obligations under the Sochi agreement that proposed the creation of a safe zone in northwestern Syria.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to use force against the Syrian military if they do not withdraw their troops from the vicinity of Turkey's observation posts in Syria's Idlib province.

RELATED: Erdogan Says Turkey Bombed Syrian Troops in Idlib

The Turkish leader warned the Syrian military that if they choose to ignore his call, he will authorize the use of force against their troops inside the Idlib province.

Shelling by Syrian government forces killed eight Turkish military personnel on Monday, prompting Turkish forces to strike back. The escalation raised concerns over future collaboration between Ankara and Moscow, which have backed opposing sides in the war despite joint efforts to ease the violence.

Erdogan said two of Turkey’s 12 observation posts, set up around a “de-escalation zone” in northwest Syria’s Idlib region as part of a 2017 agreement with Russia and Iran, were now behind Syrian government front lines.

“We hope that the process of the regime pulling back behind our observation posts is completed in the month of February,” he told members of his AK Party. “If the regime does not pull back during this time, Turkey will have to do this job itself.”

He said the Turkish military would carry out air and ground operations in Idlib, when necessary.

Erdogan has said Moscow, which supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Ankara, which has backed rebels who tried to topple him, should resolve the conflict “without anger” and agreed with Russian President Vladimir Putin to improve coordination of their countries’ actions in Syria.

The Idlib governorate is the last large stronghold of anti-government forces in Syria. It was proclaimed a de-escalation zone under the Russia-Turkey agreements. Turkey, which has influence with several armed groups there, is supposed to help deescalate the armed conflict and assist with a transition to political dialogue and a peaceful resolution. It has 12 observation posts that are meant to monitor the situation.

Syrian troops have been gradually capturing some parts of the Idlib governorate, pushing militant groups – who continuously violated the ceasefire – closer to the Turkish border.

Russia blamed Monday’s incident on miscommunication with the Turkish side. Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, took part in an emergency phone call following the clashes in an effort to deflate the tension, and agreed to reinforce coordination in Syria.

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Syrian Army frees about thirty locations from terrorism

Damascus Feb 5 (Prensa Latina) The Syrian Arab Army intensified military operations against terrorist groups and released 30 towns on the northern provinces of Aleppo and Idleb, official sources reported today.

In the last two days, forces of the 25th Division advanced in southeastern Idleb and reconquered some 28 villages and rural sectors, the reports said.

In the south of Aleppo, about 365 km north of the capital, the fourth Division of special troops managed, with the support of intense bombing, to advance and regain control of the towns of Yazraya, Zamar and Zeitan.

In the operations, dozens of terrorists were killed, some of foreign nationalities, while fortifications, two war tanks and several artillery vehicles were destroyed by aviation.

With these advances, the Syrian military is approaching the city of Saraqueb, main jihadist stronghold on the road between Aleppo and Damascus.

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The Syrian Army stops two terrorist offensives in Idlib

Damascus, Jan 21 (Prensa Latina) Terrorist groups have continued to violate the ceasefire and recently attacked the positions of the Syrian Arab Army in the northern province of Idlib, 330 km north of this capital.

According to local media, radicals of the pro-Turkish National Front for Liberation and of the Organization for the Liberation of the Levant, former Al-Nousra Front, armed wing of Al-Qaeda in Syria, launched two simultaneous offensives against military positions in the towns of Jarjnaz, Abu Dafneh, al-Teh, Tal Khatra and Tal Yeref in southeast Idlib.

The intensity of gunfire and the use of suicide-driven bomb vehicles forced the Syrian military to withdraw from some positions that were later recovered in a counterattack without any change in the control map.

At least 18 casualties were reported among the military and at least two dozen extremists were killed in the offensive.

The attack by the extremists is a violation of the ceasefire announced by the Syrian army on January 13 to allow the exit of civilians and prevent them from being used as human shields.

Meanwhile, bad weather conditions resulted in calm in the fronts west and south of the city of Aleppo, where at any time the Syrian Army could launch a terrorist offensive, according to analysts.

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United States attempts to create new hot spots in Syria

Damascus, Jan 17 (Prensa Latina) Syria and Russia on Friday denounced US attempts to create new hot spots in Syria.

Washington is working hard to keep and feed the tension in order to justify the presence of its forces in Syria and to continue plundering its natural resources for as long as possible, said a statement issued by the Syria-Russia coordination bodies.

The note said that 'the withdrawal of American troops would undoubtedly contribute to reducing tensions in Syria and the entire region.

Damascus and Moscow also warned of the serious consequences of the actions of the United States occupation forces in terms of aggravating the already deteriorated situation in Syria.

Both organizations asked the United States 'to desist from exerting a destabilizing effect on the situation in the Middle East and to strictly comply with the principle of respect for the sovereignty of states and the principles of the United Nations'.

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Russian president visits Syria and meets with President al-Assad

Damascus, Dec 7 (Prensa Latina) Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in this capital on an unannounced visit today, last-minute reports by official Syrian media revealed.

President Bashar al-Assad met with Putin at the headquarters of the Russian forces stationed in Damascus, SANA agency reported.

The visit takes place in the midst of extreme security measures while several helicopters continue to fly over the city of Damascus.

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