On August 17, the Turkish military deployed several M60T battle tanks in the southern province of Hatay, near the border with Syria, according to the Turkish Anadolu Agency. The state-run news agency noted that the battle tanks were recently upgraded by the Turkish ASELSAN company.
Ali Özkök, a Turkish journalist, revealed that the tanks were deployed in the town of Yayladağı, which is located north of the Turkmen mount in Syria’s northern Lattakia. Earlier this year, the Turkish military established an observation post at the mount, which is considered a part of the de-escalation zone in northern Syria.
Developing: The Turkish M60 tanks were deployed to Yayladagi, which lies near the Turkmen mountains in Syria’s #Latakia.
Looks like #Russia didnt green light a rebel/HTS presence.
— Ali Özkök – علي أزكوك (@Ozkok_) August 17, 2018
The Turkmen mount is known for being a stronghold of the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) and Chechen-led Ajnad al-Kavkaz. Despite that both groups are affiliated with al-Qaeda, they are still operating around the Turkish observation post and along the Turkish border.
Earlier this month, the head of the Russian reconciliation center, Major General Alexei Tsygankov, revealed that armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), which attack Hmeimim airbase on a regular basis, are being launched from northern Lattakia.
Following this statement, several observers predicted that the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies will launch a military operation in the Turkmen mount area soon. However, Syrian opposition activists are confident that the deployment of Turkish tanks in Yayladağı will prevent such operation.