Turkish troops have been deployed to Idlib province as part of a de-escalation deal signed in September with Russia and Iran in Astana, Kazakhstan. On Friday, October 13, the Turkish military confirmed it had erected a number of observation posts throughout the region. According to local reports, some 30 military vehicles have been deployed into the rebel-held area of northwest Syria.
The move is seen as a potential way for the Turkish government to contain the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia in Syria, operating in the neighboring Afrin region. Tensions have been on the rise recently in Kurdish-majority areas of Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and Syria. The deployment of troops to Idlib follows threats made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to isolate Iraqi Kurdistan following the region's independence referendum held on September 25. Turkey itself has faced a three decade-long Kurdish insurgency within its territory, spearheaded by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) - a group regarded by the government as a terrorist organization.
Syria is enmeshed in a complex civil war that started between the Assad government and opposition forces in March 2011. Today, the conflict in Syria involves many parties, including the Syrian government, the Russian government, the Iranian government, the Turkish government, a US-led coalition, and numerous armed groups on the ground (including the Islamic State) with competing goals.
Due to extremely poor security conditions, Western governments generally advise against all travel to Syria, with some banning travel to the country. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to any travel to Syria.
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