TURKEY

Opposition party leader supports Erdogan's Idlib policy

OPPOSITION PARTY LEADER SUPPORTS ERDOGANS IDLIB POLICY

The leader of opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) on Saturday backed the stance of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Syria's Idlib province.

In remarks made to the media, Devlet Bahçeli said "the MHP will side with the president as long as consistent policies continue and counter-terrorism efforts are not dismayed."

The remarks came as reports emerged of deployment of Turkish commando units along western Syrian border.

Earlier Saturday, Erdoğan said the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is currently engaged in operations to secure Idlib while Turkish soldiers are "not there yet".

"We intend to further enhance our steps in providing safety to Idlib now. There is a serious operation in Idlib today and it is going to continue," the president said.

Bahçeli said: "It is evident that there is consistency in the president's policies on Syria and Iraq. It is understood that when the time comes all efforts would be made. In this respect, I believe the developments in Idlib occurred following necessary consultations."

"Turkey has taken all means of measures there not only for its own security but also for the security of those people living there, and closely following developments there via security forces. We believe that this will continue," he added.

Idlib is under the control of anti-regime armed groups and some opposition groups.

During a meeting in Kazakh capital Astana on May 4, the guarantor countries -- Russia, Turkey, and Iran -- signed a deal to establish de-escalation zones in Syria, which included Idlib in northwestern Syria, on the Turkish border.

After intensive negotiations between Turkey, which backs the Syrian opposition, and the guarantor of the regime, Russia, the deal came to the implementation phase.

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