Erdogan says Turkey backing FSA move on Idlib

Where's Idlib? What area is it

Turkey prepared to retake Syria's northern strategic city

Almumar said at least 10 were killed, including at least two children.

The schisms and defections mean Tahrir Al Sham "has shrunk and is now confined to its primary component", said Sam Heller, a Syria expert at the Century Foundation think-tank. Turkey's private Dogan news agency reported that Turkey fired seven howitzer rounds into Idlib on Sunday.

Turkey accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary. He later resurfaced in northern Syria as the commander of a group of foreign fighters and became a senior leader within IS.

There was no immediate Turkish comment on the reports.

The Arab country has been fighting different foreign-sponsored militant and terrorist groups since March 2011.

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"We will ensure safety in Idlib, and will cooperate with Russia", Yildirim said at a meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in central Afyonkarahisar province.

IS seized vast areas of Iraq and Syria in 2014.

Calling the operation a "new step" to establish security in Idlib, he promised Turkey would not desert civilians there. "There is a serious operation in Idlib today and it is going to continue", the president said.

The FSA groups supported by Turkey are now ready to enter Idlib, Mustafa Sejari, a senior official in the Liwa al-Mutasem group said.

Turkey has been moving military equipment to its border with Syria since June 21.

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Deploying Russian and Iranian observers could potentially be a controversial issue, considering that the Syrian opposition, backed by Turkey, views the two countries as enemies due to their support for the Syrian government.

Turkish military has been on the move in Turkey's Hatay province on the border with Syria. It said the operation was yet to formally begin.

Entering Idlib by the Turkish-backed rebels and possibly Turkish forces comes in the context of the de-escalation zone deal, which was concluded between Russian Federation and Turkey in the recent sixth round of Astana talks on Syria.

Asked whether the Idlib operation would be similar to Euphrates Shield, Erdogan replied: "When you enter the boxing ring you don't count your punches". He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters. Turkish soldiers have not yet crossed the border, he added. At the same time, the Turkish military could launch an operation within Idlib. The three countries agreed in May to be guarantors of a cease-fire to help end the six-year civil war in Syria.

The FSA units are expected to cross from Turkey into Syria late Saturday, a commander from one of the participating rebel groups told CNN. "The role of the Russians is limited to areas under regime control", he said.

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