On February 14, a unit of the Turkish Army entered Idlib governorate and conducted a reconnaissance mission in its southern part for the first time, according to opposition sources. The Turkish Army unit visited the city of Maarrat al-Nu’man and the villages of Sarman and al-Ghadfa southeast of it.
— التدخل التركي لحظة بلحظة (@TurkySyr1) February 14, 2018
Opposition activists said that the Turkish Army is planning to establish a new observation post south or southeast of Maarrat al-Nu’man in the upcoming days. The Turkish Army may even establish observation posts in eastern Idlib, northern Hama and northern Lattakia in the future, according to these sources.
The Turkish Army had established two new observation posts in northern Syria since the beginning of February. On February 5, the first Turkish observation post was established in the town of al-Eis in the southwestern Aleppo countryside. Later on February 9, a second observation post was established in Tell Tuqan by the Turkish Army.
In a related development, trucks of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) began cleaning the Taftanaz airbase in eastern Idlib and removed the wreckage of several Syrian Mi-8 helicopters from the airbase. Several opposition sources speculated previously that the airbase will be also handed over to the Turkish Army, which will use it as a forward airbase for its helicopters.
Tukey’s Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on February 7 that Turkey and Russia had agreed to establish twelve observation posts inside Syria during the Astana talks. However, Kalin didn’t clarify if the agreement included the airbase.