Turkey sent heavy military equipment including tanks to a southern province bordering Syria, bolstering its military presence there, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Sunday, September 17.
— ANADOLU AJANSI (@anadoluajansi) September 17, 2017
A anonymous military source told Anadolu that the equipment – which includes 80 tracked vehicles – was deployed to İskenderun district in Turkey’s southern Hatay province to reinforce its military presence there. On Saturday, other heavy military equipment, vehicles and first aid trucks were dispatched to the same district.
The source said another convoy of military vehicles was deployed to Hatay’s Reyhanlı district, where the Cilvegözü/Bab al Hawa border crossing to Syria’s Idlib province is located.
— Cemal (@Acemal71) September 16, 2017
On Friday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Russia, Iran and Turkey had agreed to deploy observers in de-escalation zones in Syria’s Idlib, Homs, Latakia, Aleppo and Hama provinces, as well as in Eastern Ghouta.
“The principal task of the observer forces is defined as to prevent the occurrence of hostilities between the regime and the opposition as well as to monitor any ceasefire violations,” the ministry said.
A large portion of Idlib province is under the control of the Islamist Hayat Tahrir al-Sham group, led by Jabhat Fateh al-Sham. JFS was previously know as Jabhat al-Nusra, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.
Turkey’s Hatay province also borders the Syrian Democratic Forces-held Efrin canton, a mainly Kurdish enclave which is part of the Federation of Northern Syria.