AL-NAYRAB (Dispatches) – Turkey on Tuesday started withdrawing from one of its largest military outposts in northwest Syria controlled for the past year by Syrian government forces, a war monitor and a pro-Ankara rebel commander said.
The outpost in Morek is Turkey’s largest in the northwest province of Hama. Syrian government forces took control of it last year following an operation against the last major terrorist bastion in Syria’s northwest.
"After midnight Turkish forces began to evacuate Morek, and this morning a large convoy left” the area, an Ankara-backed commander told AFP from Al-Nayrab in neighboring Idlib province.
The Britain-based so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the pullout overnight.
The war monitor said that other observation posts also controlled by Syrian government forces could likewise be evacuated.
Turkey supports militants fighting President Assad’s government and it has also launched multiple invasions across Syria’s northern border against Kurdish forces.
Since September 2018, it has established 12 posts in the northwest.
Ankara has not officially commented on the evacuation and it was unclear if it was part of a broader deal, possibly with Syria’s ally, Russia, with which Turkey has also been at odds in Libya and the Karabakh conflict.
Idlib itself is dominated by the al-Qaeda-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham alliance and its terrorist allies.
They control half of Idlib province as well as pockets of territory in the neighboring provinces of Latakia and Aleppo as well as Hama.
A ceasefire since March has largely reduced fighting, despite intermittent air strikes and artillery attacks.