Turkish, Russian armed forces to ensure safety in Syria's Idlib: Erdogan

Where's Idlib? What area is it

Erdogan said the operation, which has not yet seen Turkish troops cross the border into Syria, was being conducted in coordination with Russian Federation.

More so, Erdogan said that his country is now taking a new step to achieve security in Idlib as part of its efforts to expand the scope of the "Euphrates Shield".

HTS wants to continue fighting the government despite the establishment of "de-escalation zones".

"Today a landmark operation is underway in Idlib, and this will continue".

The illegitimate referendum saw Iraqis in KRG-controlled areas - and in a handful of territories disputed between Erbil and Baghdad, including ethnically mixed Kirkuk and Mosul - vote on whether or not to declare independence.

Turkey has also pressed, so far in vain, for the United States to extradite Fethullah Gulen over the July 2016 putsch, in which more than 240 people were killed.

"At the moment the Free Syrian Army is operating there (inside Syria), our troops are not there yet", Erdogan said, quoted by the Dogan news agency.

Tahrir Al Sham, which is listed by the United States and others as a "terrorist" group, counts an estimated 10,000 fighters among its ranks, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor.

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The military operations are expected to be held jointly with troops of the Free Syrian Army.

"We will absolutely not allow the creation of a terror corridor along our borders", said Erdogan.

Turkish media reports that a convoy of at least 12 vehicles, carrying 12 tanks and two bulldozers, was heading for the Cilvegozu crossing across Syria's Bab al-Hawa border gate.

"A Turkish intervention has been on the table for a long time", he said, adding that Turkey had been working to encourage defections in order "to isolate the group associated with Jolani".

He said if Turkey had not acted "bombs would fall on our cities".

Speaking Sunday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the de-escalation zones would be applied in Idlib with "Russia outside, Turkey inside" with Syrian opposition fighters it backs.

Airstrikes were reported in parts of Idlib on Saturday, follows a month of heavy bombardment of the province by Russian Federation and the Syrian regime killing scores of civilians. Turkey, however, has backed rebels seeking Assad's ouster.