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Posted On : 9 Oct, 2017  Source : IANS  Place : Istanbul 
Turkey sends troops to Syria's Idlib in reconnaissance mission
Turkish Army units have entered Syria to begin a reconnaissance mission in the northwestern province of Idlib, military officials announced on Monday.

The operation is under an international agreement reached between Turkey, Russia and Iran during the Astana peace talks to establish de-escalation zones in Syria, Efe news reported.

The Turkish armed forces explained in a statement that the de-escalation zones were created to "enhance effectiveness of the ceasefire regime, end conflicts, bring humanitarian aid to those in need, establish the necessary conditions for the return of those displaced".

The Turkish General Staff said elements of the country's armed forces had been conducting reconnaissance activities in Idlib since October 8 to establish monitoring positions.

The announcement of the Turkish armed forces came two days after a major deployment of tanks and military vehicles in the Turkish province of Hatay, bordering Idlib.

On Saturday, it was reported that Ankara had helped Syrian rebel militias move from the northern Aleppo regions through Turkish territory to Hatay, where they could advance on Idlib, currently held by the Salafist militant group known as Tahrir al-Sham.

Tahrir al-Sham, formed earlier this year as a merger of the former Nusra Front and other ultra-Islamist groups ideologically linked to Al Qaeda, had taken control of Idlib in July.