The Turkish military made one of its most comprehensive deployments to Idlib yesterday since the beginning of the Bashar Assad regime's military offensive on Sept. 4.
Local sources reported that a 50-vehicle convoy including tanks and fire support elements had entered southeastern Idlib's Jisr al-Shughur region, where Turkish military observation points are also located.
The Assad regime also deployed a high number of military units around Jisr al-Shughur as part of preparations for the offensive. They have also launched attacks on the outskirts of Idlib from this region.
The Turkish military relocated some of its howitzers from Kilis to Hatay province in southern Turkey bordering Idlib. Erdoğan told reporters on Sunday on his way back from Azerbaijan that troops in monitoring posts in Idlib must be reinforced, referring to the positions of Turkish soldiers along the 12 monitoring posts in Idlib.
"It is true we have been strengthening our soldiers there. We cannot afford to have a weakness there, we will continue to strengthen them. If we do not enforce our monitoring posts, some others can take initiatives and as a results of their actions civilians may be harmed," Erdoğan said.
Under the Astana agreement, Turkey established 12 observation points in Idlib, from north to south, aiming to monitor and sustain the current cease-fire agreement for de-escalation zones, deliver humanitarian aid and ensure the secure return of displaced people.
"Turkey has the biggest problem in this matter. There is no one else with borders there. We have a 115 kilometer border on the west and a 915-kilometer border to the north. We are country that shares a border on all sides. Turkey is the place people escape to, not Iran, Iraq, Russia, Germany or France," the president said and added that other countries should not be bothered that Turkey takes measures.
Turkey already hosts 3.5 million Syrian refugees who have been displaced by civil war in Syria, which has been ongoing for seven years now.