MESOP NEWS : ERDOGAN’S INVASION MOVES FORWARD – Turkish army moves to SE Idlib to set observation point – Turkish forces deployed in Tall Tukan town in southeastern Idlib de-escalation zone

By Esref Musa and Levent Tok – Anadolu Agency – IDLIB/ANKARA – 11 Febr 2018 – A Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) convoy has moved to establish a new cease-fire observation point in the Idlib de-escalation zone in Syria, on Friday, according to an Anadolu Agency correspondent on the ground.

The military convoy headed south in the Idlib-Afrin zone after passing the Turkish-Syrian border late Friday, the correspondent said.Turkish forces were deployed in the Tall Tukan town of the Abu Zuhur province, in the southeastern Idlib de-escalation zone.Bashar al-Assad regime’s army elements and Iran-backed groups are around six kilometers (3.7 miles) away from the deployment point.The new observation point is located 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the Turkish-Syrian border.

The aim of the deployment, which is done in accordance with the Astana agreement, is to establish a sixth cease-fire observation point, according to military sources.Russian forces in the de-escalation zone are now expected to position themselves outside of the Idlib de-escalation zone, on the frontline separating the regime and opposition forces. On Oct. 12, 2017, the Turkish military started to cross into the region to establish observation points to monitor the cease-fire regime in the Idlib de-escalation zone.

Under the Astana agreement, Turkey is set to gradually establish 12 observation points, from Idlib’s north to south. Idlib, located in northwestern Syria on the Turkish border, has faced intense attacks by the Assad regime after a vicious civil war broke out in 2011.

Since March 2015, Idlib is no longer under the control of the Assad regime and has been overrun by military opposition groups and anti-regime armed organizations.