12:35 GMT +320 November 2019
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    Turkish military vehicles are seen on the Turkish-Syrian border line in Reyhanli, Hatay province, Turkey, October 13, 2017

    Damascus Demands 'Immediate' Withdrawal of Turkish Army From Syria - State Media

    © REUTERS / Osman Orsal
    Middle East
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    Few days after the Turkish troops and armed vehicles entered Syria's Idlib following the announcement of Ankara's second military operation in the Arab Republic, Damascus has reportedly strongly condemned the deployment.

    According to the Syrian SANA news agency citing a source in the Syrian Foreign Ministry, Damascus has demanded the "immediate and unconditional" withdrawal of Turkish troops from the country.

    An official source in the ministry told SANA that Syria condemns the incursion of the Turkish army units in the Idlib province, calling it a "blatant aggression against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and a flagrant violation of international law and norms."

    The Turkish operation the Damascus' source described as an "aggression" has "nothing to do" with the agreements reached during the latest round of the Syrian peace talks in Astana brokered by Russia, Iran and Turkey, SANA reported.

    Damascus' reported condemnation of the Turkish Idlib operation comes several days after Turkish soldiers, including special forces, and 30 armored vehicles entered the Idlib de-escalation zone on Thursday night.

    According to the Turkish General Staff, Turkish armed forces operating in the Idlib de-escalation zone will observe ceasefire, ensure humanitarian aid deliveries and to create conditions for the population to return to their homes, began setting up their observation posts on October 12, within the framework of agreements reached in Astana.

    The Turkish military operation to support the Free Syrian Army rebels' fight against al-Nusra Front terrorists in Idlib was announced by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on October 7. 

    Currently, Idlib is mostly controlled by Tahrir al-Sham, a militant group led by al-Nusra Front terrorist group (banned in Russia), al-Qaeda's former Syrian affiliate. The group is not party to the agreement on setting up a de-escalation zone in Idlib agreed upon during the Syrian peace talks in Astana brokered by Russia, Iran and Turkey.

    The Idlib operation is the second Turkish military operation on the Syrian soil. From August 2016 until March 2017, the Euphrates Shield campaign by the Turkish army conducted also with the FSA rebel fighters was conducted aiming to clear the Syrian border town of Jarablus and the surrounding area from Daesh terrorist group.


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