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Turkish military forces dispatch new reinforcements to northwestern Syria to prop up allied militants

This file picture shows Turkish military forces at an undisclosed location in northeastern Syria. (Photo by Reuters)

Turkish forces have sent new military reinforcements to Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib to prop up their allied Takfiri militants as they seek to consolidate their grip on areas under their control.

Local sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Syria’s official news agency SANA that a convoy of dozens of trucks, carrying various types of weapons, military equipment, logistical supplies and cement blocks, crossed the Bab al-Hawa border crossing on Monday and headed toward terrorist strongholds in the mountainous Jabal al-Zawiya.

Turkey had already dispatched truckloads of military and logistical equipment to northern Syria last October.

SANA, citing local sources, reported at the time that a convoy comprising scores of trucks, laden with sophisticated weapons, heavy artillery batteries, anti-armor munitions and advanced personnel carriers, crossed into Syrian territories on October 31 and moved towards the city of Ras al-Ayn and surrounding areas.

Turkish-backed militants seize Syrians’ olive farms, residential buildings

Moreover, Turkish-based Takfiri militants have seized vast areas of olive fields and squatted several residential buildings in Syria’s northern province of Aleppo.

SANA, citing local sources, said members of the so-called Levant Front terrorist group have expropriated agricultural land planted with more than 360 olive trees in the village of Mereske north of the Kurdish-populated city of Afrin.

The sources added that the extremists plan to transfer olive crops over the border, and sell the produce to Turkish merchants.

Moreover, Turkish-sponsored militants have forcibly evacuated several families from their homes in the Ashrafiyeh neighborhood of Afrin city, and occupied their houses.

This comes as rival Turkish-based militants have turned against each other in Syria's north. 

In mid-November, scores of Takfiri militants were killed or injured after they engaged in fierce exchanges of fire in northern provinces of Hasakah and Raqqah.

SANA reported back then bloody infighting had broken out between militants affiliated with the Hamza Division, which is affiliated with the so-called Free Syrian Army and trained and equipped by the United States and Turkey, on the outskirts of Ras al-Ayn city in Hasakah province.

The report added that rival militants were attacking each other’s positions intensely, using heavy and semi-heavy weapons.

The development came a few days after fierce clashes erupted between Turkish-affiliated militant groups in Syria’s northern province of Raqqah.

SANA said clashes broke out between elements of the Turkish-backed Ahrar al-Sharqiya and Sham Legion militant groups in Ayn Issa, al-Sharkarak and Hammam al-Turkman areas.

Turkey has deployed forces in Syria in violation of the Arab country's territorial integrity. 

Ankara-backed militants were deployed to northeastern Syria in October 2019 after Turkish military forces launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion in a declared attempt to push fighters of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) away from border areas.

Ankara views the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other senior officials have said Damascus will respond through all legitimate means available to the ongoing ground offensive by Turkish forces in the northern part of the Arab country.

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