MIDDLE EAST

Turkish troops receive warm welcome in Syria’s Idlib

TURKISH TROOPS RECEIVE WARM WELCOME IN SYRIA’S IDLIB

People living inside a de-escalation zone established in and around Syria's Idlib province have given a warm welcome to Turkish troops deployed in the area to support a cease-fire.

As Turkish troops deployed in the area, residents of the Darat Izza district -- a de-escalation zone set up in Aleppo's western countryside -- cheered for Turkey and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to Anadolu Agency correspondents covering the deployments.

Waving flags associated with the Free Syria Army (FSA), local residents chanted slogans, such as, "Syria and Turkey are friends" and "We all love Erdogan".

"We are happy to see our brothers deployed here; they are welcome," one local resident told Anadolu Agency. "Erdogan represents humanity. God damn the PKK [terrorist group]."

Many local residents gathered after Friday prayers to express their support for the Turkish troops.

"Thank you for protecting the Syrian people," they shouted. "Welcome back to your country, sons of Mehmet the Conqueror."

In line with agreements reached during earlier peace talks in Astana, Turkish troops are tasked with monitoring the cease-fire and establishing a series of observation points along the Idlib-Afrin line.

On Thursday night, Turkish military convoys entered northern Idlib after being dispatched from the Reyhanli district in Turkey's southeastern Hatay province.

Turkish troops were initially deployed near Afrin, which is situated next to the Turkish border and which is currently held by the PKK/PYD terrorist group.

The deployments are being carried out in line with earlier agreements reached in Astana by the three guarantor states: Turkey, Russia and Iran.

During the deployment, which is expected to gradually expand southward, Turkish troops hope to set up more than ten observation posts in Idlib.

While the Turkish military has been tasked with establishing observation posts in central Idlib, Russia has been tasked with doing the same in outlying areas.

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