Turkey troops, Syria jihadists exchange fire on border

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Earlier Sunday, Mustafa Sejari, spokesman for a Turkey-backed Syrian armed group, said Turkish artillery responded with shells after coming under attack from al-Qaida-linked fighters across the border.

A successful mission would help Assad focus on fighting Islamic State in eastern Syria, Emre Ersen, an analyst at Istanbul's Marmara University, said at the conference.

Moscow has been carrying out air raids in support of its ally Damascus targeting both ISIL in Deir Az Zor province and rival groups led by al-Qaeda's former Syria affiliate in Idlib province in the northwest.

The tension came a day after Turkey's president announced that his country has launched a "serious" operation in Syria's northwestern Idlib province with Turkey-backed Syrian opposition forces, following global efforts for de-escalation in the war-torn country.

On Saturday, Erdogan announced plans to deploy Turkish forces to Idlib, where the Free Syrian Army rebel fighters backed by Ankara have launched an operation.

It was earlier reported that Turkey completed preparations for new military operations in Syria and military operations in Idlib may start in the coming days.

"There is a serious operation in Syria's Idlib today, and this will continue", Erdogan told members of his AK Party in a speech.

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The province is one of four such de-escalation zones agreed upon across Syria.

The push on Saturday came as Turkey along with Russian Federation and Iran prepared to set up a so-called "de-escalation" zone in Idlib province, in line with deals in talks in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana, aimed at ending the Syrian civil war.

It is not clear what role the Turkish military will play in the operation.

"Apparently, the final agreement on this issue [situation in Idlib] was reached during a meeting in Ankara between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan".

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the movement of the Turkish army and Turkish military vehicles was spotted on the border between Idlib and the Turkish territory.

He was referring to the US -backed Syrian Kurdish militants that Turkey considers terrorists.

Commenting on the coordination with Russia, Erdogan said: "Relations with the regime is something looked after by Russia, and we have taken measures in other areas".

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