Erdoğan announces start of Idlib operation

What about Idlib? Why is Idlib critical

"We will never allow the formation of a terror corridor along our border with Syria", he said, adding that new initiatives after the Idlib operation may be taken.

Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups in the Euphrates Shield campaign that Ankara launched in northern Syria past year are ready to cross into northwest Syria from Turkey, Mustafa Sejari, a senior official in the Liwa Al-Mutasem group said.

Erdogan also announced Saturday that a "major" operation in Syria's northwestern Idlib province had been launched with Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA), and air support from Russian Federation, following worldwide efforts for de-escalation in the war-torn country.

The US maintains that the group is still linked to al Qaeda, however.

"We will absolutely not allow the creation of a terror corridor along our borders", said Erdogan in his speech.

The military operations are expected to be held jointly with troops of the Free Syrian Army.

Erdogan said many Syrians had fled to Idlib from neighbouring Aleppo province, which was rocked by heavy fighting past year, and Turkey was not going to let them down.

Nunez return cut short as injury forces exit
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It has been a formidable military force since early in the war, when it transitioned from bomb attacks in cities to guerrilla conflict with the Syrian army, fighting alongside many other factions.

The alliance controls most of the northwestern province of Idlib after expelling former allies earlier this year.

Reports suggest a large military deployment on Turkey's southern border and residents near the Bab al-Hawa crossing told Reuters that a section of frontier wall had been removed.

It said in the statement that Idlib would "not be a picnic" for them and added "the lions of jihad and martyrdom are waiting to pounce".

"The Free Syrian Army, with support from Turkish troops, is in full readiness to enter the area but until this moment there is no movement", said Sejari, the Liwa al-Mutasem official. It said the operation was yet to formally begin.

The Russian defence ministry said Saturday some 120 Islamic State group fighters and 60 foreign mercenaries were killed in a series of Russian air strikes in Syria over the past 24 hours.

Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said the strikes were probably carried out by the Syrian air force, which has been carrying out an intensifying bombing campaign against opposition targets in Idlib province alongside aircraft from ally Russian Federation.

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