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Turkey sends another convoy of military vehicles into Syria’s Idlib

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A Turkish military convoy is seen parked near the town of Batabu on the highway linking Idlib to the Syrian Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey on March 2, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

A Britain-based war monitor says Turkey has dispatched another military convoy to Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib, as Ankara beefs up its military presence in the embattled region following a ceasefire reached earlier this month with Moscow to halt an escalation of violence there.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, citing activists requesting anonymity, reported that the Turkish convoy, consisting of nearly 25 military vehicles, crossed into the Syrian territory through Kafr Lusin border crossing on Thursday afternoon, and headed toward Turkish positions.

Syria’s official news agency SANA, however, reported that Turkish forces brought in 20 military vehicles.

It noted that the convoy, armed with heavy machine guns, passed through the border village of al-Sokkariyeh and headed towards the villages of al-Dawudiyah and Aniq.

Separately, Turkish military forces and their allied Takfiri militants fired artillery rounds at Kurdish-controlled towns of Kafr Naya and Sheikh Hilal in addition to the outskirts of Tell Rifaat city, located roughly 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of the city of Aleppo

At least one civilian sustained injuries as a result of the shelling.

The development took place only a day after Turkish troops in Mare' town, located some 25 kilometers north of Aleppo, heavily shelled Kurdish-held areas in the villages of Tell Qarah, Um al-Housh, Ahras, Tall Soussine besides Kafr Naya town, leaving an internally displaced child injured.

The Observatory also reported on Thursday that Turkish forces had established an observation post in Jannat al-Qura village, which lies in the western countryside of Idlib and on the strategic M4 highway.

 Furthermore, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that a militant commander from the Turkish-backed so-called Sultan Murad Division has been killed after a bomb explosion struck his car in al-Bab city, which is situated in the northeastern countryside of Aleppo.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar announced on March 13 that the Russian and Turkish militaries had agreed on the details of a new ceasefire in the Idlib de-escalation zone following four days of talks in Ankara.

Akar said the first joint patrol by Turkey and Russia on the M4 highway in Idlib would take place on March 15, and that Turkey and Russia will set up joint coordination centers in the area.

The announcement followed a telephone call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan the previous day to discuss the implementation of the agreements the two leaders had reached in Moscow the previous week.

“Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan reaffirmed the importance of continued close joint efforts, first of all between the Russian and Turkish defense ministries, in order to ensure a stable ceasefire and further stabilization of the situation,” a Kremlin press release read.

“It was agreed to maintain a regular dialogue at various levels, including personal contacts,” the statement added.

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