Turkey deploys 80 military vehicles near Syrian border

Deployment comes after Russia, Turkey, and Iran agreed to send 'de-escalation' forces to Syria in the coming weeks.

18 September 2017, 9:31am
Turkey has sent 80 military vehicles towards the border with Syria, state news agency Anadolu says (Photo: AlJazeera)
Turkey has sent 80 military vehicles towards the border with Syria, state news agency Anadolu says (Photo: AlJazeera)
Turkey sent 80 military vehicles, including war tanks, to the Syrian border, the state-run Anadolu news agency said on Sunday.

The news report said the deployment was part of reinforcement for troops stationed along the border.  The vehicles were sent to the province of Hatay, Anadolu said.

A third convoy of armoured vehicles was heading to district Hatay Reyhanli, where the border gate with Syria is located, Anadolu said.

A convoy of about 18 Turkish army vehicles arrived in an area close to the Bab al-Hawa crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border.

Syrian opposition officials and activists expect the troops will continue towards Syria as per the terms reached in the Astana agreement, they told the website. The treaty requires the entry of Turkish forces in areas controlled by the Syrian opposition in the province of Idlib.

Last week, Turkey, Iran and Russia agreed to set-up de-escalation zones in Syria for six months while the sixth round of talks in the Kazakh capital Astana were underway.

The six-month term may be extended in the future.

The plan calls for the cessation of hostilities between anti-government groups and forces fighting on behalf of Bashar-al-Assad four so-called de-escalation zones in mainly opposition-held areas of the country, with Russia, Turkey and Iran to act as guarantors.

Turkey's pro-government Yeni Safak newspaper said in an unsourced report on Friday the 3 countries planned to divide the Idlib region, with Turkish forces and opposition fighters in the northwest region bordering Turkey.

Iranian and Syrian army forces would be deployed to the southeast, with Russian forces in between those two zones, Yeni Safak said.

The Syrian civil war has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives since it began in March 2011, with millions of Syrians fleeing the country, leading to the worst refugee crisis since World War II.