Om October 9, the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) officially announced that it started conducting reconnaissance activities in Syria’s Idlib province on October 8.
According to the TAF’s statement, the Turkish military acitivy in the region is conducted within a framework of the agreement reached by Tehran, Ankara and Moscow during the Astana talks.
In Astana, the sides agreed to establish four de-escalation zones in Syria, including the militant-held province of Idlib where Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) plays a key role among the so-called opposition.
The announcement followed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statement that Ankara was going to deploy its forces in Idlib province where Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) gorups launched some military operation.
Meanwhile, a meeting allegedly took place between HTS representatives and Turkish officers in Darat Izza town in northwestern Aleppo. The sides reportedly discussed the upcoming Turkish intervention in Syria. Some sources speculated that HTS might surrender its positions near the Kurdish-held area in northwestern Syria to Turkish forces.
So far, actions of the FSA and the TAF didn’t go beyond the statements about the so-called “military operation” in Idlib province. Most likely, Anakra is attempting to reach an agrement with HTS that would allow it to declare a success in the area without combating the terrorist group.