Turkish army begins setting up observation positions in Syria's Idlib

100 Mehmetcik enters Idlib

The development came after Turkey said it was sending in troops to enforce a de-escalation zone in Idlib.

Erdogan's remarks come after the army announced in a statement that it began activities to establish observation posts in Idlib, northwestern Syria, under a May deal between Turkey - which backs groups opposed to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad's regime - and Russian Federation and Iran, which support Assad.

Turkish officials were not immediately available to confirm the report but the official Anadolu news agency earlier reported several armoured personnel carriers, ambulances and containers massing on the Syrian border.

A convoy of the military operation that Turkey is carrying out in Syria's Idlib province crossed into the area late on Thursday, two rebels and a witness said.

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The convoy was escorted by fighters from Tahrir al-Sham, an alliance of jihadist groups including the former al Qaeda affiliate previously known as the Nusra Front, Abu Khairo said.

They agreed on four such ceasefire zones in Syria as a prelude to negotiations.

The Turkish army is backing pro-Ankara Syrian rebels, who will need to oust HTS members in the area to allow Iranian, Russian and Turkish forces to implement the de-escalation zone. Three other de-escalation zones are now operating in south-western Syria, eastern Ghouta (suburbs of Damascus) and northern Homs province.

The deployment is part of the de-escalation deal brokered in Astana last month between Ankara, Tehran and Moscow.

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