Egypt has deployed 150 troops in Syria to support the Syrian Arab Army, Turkish Anadolu Agency reported on July 30, citing a military source.
The source told the state-run agency that the Egyptian service members were deployed in western Aleppo and southern Idlib. The troops were allegedly deployed in coordination with Iranian forces.
“The troops were later deployed in the Khan al-Asal area in western countryside of Aleppo and around the city of Saraqib in the southern countryside of Idlib,” the Anadolu Agency quoted the military source as saying.
The news agency claimed that the Egyptian service members had arrived via the Hama Air Base. However, no flights from Egypt to the said base were recorded over the past few days. This casts serious doubts on Turkish claims.
In the last few months, Turkey has deployed thousands of troops in Greater Idlib. The region is controlled by a number of terrorist groups, primarily by al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.
Egypt has been working to restrict Turkish influence in the Middle East and North Africa since 2013. Currently, there is a political confrontation between the two countries in Libya.
Throughout the war in Syria, Cairo maintained a respectful level of relations with Damascus despite Arab and Western pressure. In 2018, head of the Syrian National Security Bureau, Ali Mamlouk, paid a visit to Cairo where he met Abbas Kamel, director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate.
Turkey’s increasing influence in Syria, especially in the northwestern region of Greater Idlib, may provoke Egypt. Nevertheless, Cairo is unlikely to take drastic steps like deploying troops. Cairo is known for prioritizing diplomacy. The Egyptian military is yet to intervene in neighboring Libya, despite Turkey’s growing military presence there.