Rebel fighters backed by Turkey have launched a major military operation in Syria’s north-western Idlib province.
The offensive is led by the Free Syrian Army who oppose both president Bashar al-Assad and jihadist groups that dominate the region.
Russia is providing air support though Turkish troops have not yet crossed into Syria, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday.
Announcing the military move, the Turkish president said: “Today there’s a serious operation in Idlib and it will continue, because we have our brothers there who came to Idlib fleeing violence in Aleppo. We can’t tell them ‘whatever happens, happens. You can either die or survive”.
Erdogan has vowed to stop a so-called “terror corridor” forming along Turkey’s border with Syria.
Earlier this year Turkey, Russia and Iran agreed to create de-escalation zones in Syria, including Idlib, as part of efforts to end the country’s protracted civil war.