Monitoring group: Turkey bolsters its troops in north Syria

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BEIRUT — Syrian activists say Turkey has sent reinforcements into northern Syria, possibly in preparation for battles Ankara is anticipating with local Kurdish forces.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says a column of armored vehicles was deployed to the Syrian towns of Azaz and Marea on Wednesday. The towns, held by Turkey-backed Syrian opposition fighters, are on the front lines with rival, U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces.

Turkey, which first deployed its ground forces in Syria last year, sees Syrian Kurdish fighters as an extension of its Kurdish insurgents who have waged a three decade-long insurgency against Ankara.

A Syrian opposition official said an unusually substantial contingent of Turkish forces entered northern Syria on Tuesday. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.

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