Idlib, Syrian Arab Republic – The Turkish Army has sent around 300 military vehicles to its so-called “observation points” in the Syrian province of Idlib, Haberturk reported. According to the broadcaster, the military trucks, armored vehicles, and self-propelled guns are heading to the de-escalation zone.
This deployment comes after Ankara performed strikes against the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), claiming that Damascus violated a ceasefire after several Turkish servicemen died during the army’s attack at the observation point in Idlib. The Syrian government, however, stated that the various armed factions in Idlib – the last stronghold of jihadists in the country – ignored the agreement, repeatedly attacking the military.
According to Damascus, there are at least 70,000 militant terrorists in the rebel-controlled part of the province, with many of them belonging to the al-Nusra terrorist organization. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to drive the Syrian forces from the de-escalation zone before the end of February, also threatening to launch a full-scale military offensive in all areas “if Damascus attacks” the Turkish Army.
Turkish Army moving heavy equipment in support of the remaining terrorists in Idlib
Meanwhile, Turkish authorities are seeking 695 arrests over alleged links to US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen. Turkish prosecutors issued detention warrants against 695 people suspected of alleged links to the US-based Muslim cleric blamed by Turkey for a failed coup attempt in 2016.
According to an Anadolu news agency report on Tuesday, prosecutors were seeking the arrests of 467 people suspected of cheating in a police promotion examination in 2009. Warrants were also issued against 157 military officers – 101 of them still on active duty – and 71 Justice Ministry personnel.
Since the attempted coup d’etat on July 15, 2016, some 77,000 people have been arrested and around 130,000 others, including military personnel, have been dismissed from state jobs in a crackdown on Fethullah Gulen’s network, Associated Press said. Fethullah Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999, denies involvement in the coup attempt.