In a move rebel officials say is part of the de-escalation deal reached at Astana peace talks, Turkey has begun massing troops and armored vehicles along the Syrian border. The deployments include multiple different convoys heading to different border crossings.
The vehicles were mostly armored personnel carriers, but also included some tanks. Turkey, Russia, and Iran have agreed to set up new de-escalation zones for the next six months to try to facilitate more peace talks.
Turkey is expected to control parts of the Idlib Province under this deal, which stands to be a very complicated process, both because of the large number of rival Islamist rebels packed therein, and especially because the Nusra Front says they don’t intend to de-escalate.
The new zones intend to include Idlib, Homs, Latakia, Aleppo, Hama, and Eastern Ghouta, which if successful would cover a lot of the areas of non-ISIS combat in the country, and would bring much of the war into a state of de facto ceasefire.
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