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Turkish Forces Set Hawk Missile Systems Between Idlib, Afrin

Turkish Forces Set Hawk Missile Systems Between Idlib, Afrin

Tuesday, 2 January, 2018 - 09:15
A Turkish military armoured vehicle guards on the border line located opposite the Syrian town of Atimah, Idlib province, in this picture taken from Reyhanli, Hatay province, Turkey October 10, 2017. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

Turkish army troops continued to establish monitor posts in de-escalation zones in north Syria as agreed upon with Russia and Iran after the Kazakh peace talks.

Local reports showed Turkish army units enforcing new military measures and deployments near Darat Izza, a town in northern Syria, administratively part of the Aleppo Governorate—such as positioning Hawk missiles, communication centers and radar devices at Afrin borderlines.

Afrin is controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military arm (Kurdish People Protection Units) in northern Aleppo.

Sources said that the move follows the entry of a reinforced Turkish military convoy to Kafr Lusein, located in the northern countryside Idlib. It also is in line with the Astana agreement on establishing de-escalation zones.

While the agreement stipulates that Turkey deploys troops to northern Idlib, Russia and Iran will be positioning troops outside the area with observers who will likely overlook field developments.

The Turkish army is ready to attack Kurdish militias in Afrin, as it has already laid siege to their territory.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated last Saturday that his country would "purge" Afrin and Manbij in northern Syria—hinting that Kurdish PYD militias would be targeted.

Turkey will "impose security, inevitably, in areas adjacent to its borders," he added.

"When purging Afrin and Manbij in Aleppo from terrorists, the real owners will return to their homes, and then we will impose security in all areas adjacent to our borders, Tal al-Abyad in the province of Raqqa and Ras al-Ain in the province of Hasaka, because these areas pose a threat to us.”

Turkey has labeled Kurdish militias as terrorists.

There have recently been reports by Turkish media outlets indicating a planned military operation in Afrin, which will later extend to other areas—reports said it launches in mid-January.

Erdogan has repeatedly vowed that Turkey will not allow a "terror corridor" to be set up on its southern border, which reaches the Mediterranean.

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