Around 70 Turkish military vehicles crossed into Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib overnight and headed to reinforce Turkish positions in the so-called de-escalation zone, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said on Sunday.
The Observatory said that reinforcements to Turkish positions in northwest Syria since a recent ceasefire came into effect has risen to 2,750 military units.
Turkey and Russia launched joint military patrols earlier this month along the M4 highway in Idlib as part of a ceasefire agreement made on March 5by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to end the fighting in the northwest Idlib province between Turkish-backed forces and the Syrian military, which is backed by Russia.
Over the past three months Turkey has deployed military force to try to halt the Syrian army’s advance on the last rebel held province of Idlib that has displaced around 1 million people. A new counter-offensive – Operation Spring Shield – was launched by Turkey on March 1 after at least 36 Turkish soldiers were killed in an air strike at the end of February that has been attributed to Russian planes backing Syrian forces.
The Observatory said that activists had noted the entry of at least 6,155 Turkish trucks and military vehicles to the Syrian territory since Feb. 2, including tanks, personnel carriers, armoured vehicles, mobile bulletproof guard booths, and military radars.
It also said that the number of Turkish soldiers deployed during the same period in Idlib and Aleppo had exceeded 10,300.