Turkey to extend military presence in Syria, says Erdogan
Turkey is preparing to ramp up military operations in northern Syria, following a major set back for Ankara's rebel allies in Idlib province and the continued advance of Kurdish militias, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.
Syrian opposition forces in the Aleppo countryside have been reliant on the support of the Turkish army and air force, but the offensive by the Operation Euphrates Shield group has stalled in recent months.
"The Euphrates Shield was the dagger we introduced at the heart of the terrorist presence project in Syria, and we are determined to develop new campaigns," Erdogan said during a speech, in which he discussed the opening of a number of facilities in the Turkish city of Malatya.
"We will take important steps to implement the new campaigns in the near future."
The Turkish armed forces sent military reinforcements to the border of the city of Kilis, near to areas controlled by the forces of the militias allied to the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).
Erdogan said the military build-up would strengthen Turkish forces deployed on the Turkish-Syrian border.
The official Anadolu news agency said on Saturday that Turkey dispatched artillery to Kilis province to back units there.
Turkish-backed rebel groups in Idlib province have also been forces to flee the region after an offensive by al-Qaeda-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.