Turkey creates new 'observation point' in Syria's Idlib | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 16, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 16, 2018

Turkey creates new 'observation point' in Syria's Idlib

Turkish troops have set up a new "observation point" in the Syrian province of Idlib as part of efforts to reduce violence in the conflict, state media reported yesterday.

The point -- an outpost staffed by a small number of troops to monitor any fighting -- was established nearly 70 kilometres (44 miles) from the Turkish border in the northwestern province, state-run news agency Anadolu said.

Idlib is nearly completely under the control of anti-government forces, predominantly Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a group led by Al-Qaeda's former Syria affiliate.

Anadolu said a Turkish military convoy crossed the Turkey-Syria border Wednesday night.

The latest post is in Maarrat al-Numan town in southeastern Idlib.

This is the sixth such position in the province after two were established earlier this month by the Turkish army. The other three were set up in October and November.

Turkish convoys have come under attack including one incident early in February which killed one soldier. The Turkish army said "terror groups" were responsible.

Establishing the observation points is a key element in peace talks in the Kazakh capital Astana aimed at ending the seven-year Syrian conflict.

One of the agreements of the talks -- sponsored by Turkey, Russia and Iran -- was to create four so-called de-escalation zones including Idlib.

The other three are the greater Damascus area, the southern Daraa region and Homs city.

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