Turkish military vehicles drive towards the northern Syrian town of al-Bab, Syria March 7, 2017 (Reuters)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday “a serious operation” was beginning in Syria’s Idlib, and a Syrian rebel official said his group was preparing to enter the area with the backing of Turkish forces.
Idlib and surrounding areas of northwest Syria are among the largest bastions for rebel groups fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but have increasingly fallen under the sway of Al-Qaeda-linked insurgent factions.
“Today there’s a serious operation in Idlib and it will continue, because we have to extend a hand to our brothers in Idlib and to our brothers who arrived in Idlib,” Erdogan said.
“Now this step has been taken, and it is underway,” he said, adding that Turkish forces were not yet involved and that it was a rebel operation so far, but that Free Syrian Army forces had already begun the operation.
Video sent to Middle East Eye from an activist in Idlib appeared to show forces entering the border village of Atme from the district of Reyhanli: