PanARMENIAN.Net - Turkey is withdrawing troops from a military post in northwest Syria that was surrounded by Syrian government forces last year, but is consolidating its presence elsewhere in the region, sources familiar with the operation said on Monday, October 19, according to the Middle East Monitor.
The observation post at Morek was one of a dozen set up by Turkish soldiers in 2018 under an ill-fated deal to calm fighting between Syrian government troops and Turkey-backed rebels controlling the northwestern Idlib region.
Morek and several other Turkish posts were surrounded last year by advancing Syrian government forces. Ankara has kept them manned and re-supplied since then while reinforcing the remaining rebel-held territory to hold back government forces and prevent millions of refugees streaming towards Turkey.
Turkish officials have in the past ruled out pulling back from a single observation post, but the sources said there was no longer any military value in staying at Morek.
"The dismantling of the base has begun," a senior Syrian opposition figure close to Turkey told Reuters.
The withdrawal from the exposed position would take several days, he said, describing it as part of Turkish efforts to "consolidate ceasefire lines" reached in a March agreement with Russia which halted the heaviest fighting in years around Idlib.