Turkey Denies Idlib Troop Pullback, Says Ceasefire Holding

DM: No Turkish troops are being recalled

Turkish officials were quick to deny reports that they were beginning to withdraw some of their troops from Syria’s Idlib Province, though they emphasized that the cease-fire made with Russia is still being honored by both sides.

Turkey’s Defense Ministry insisted that not a single Turkish soldier has been recalled, and suggested that there were no plans to do so yet. For now, that means keeping them north of the M4 Highway, and participating in joint patrols with Russia.

Turkey had threatened to invade Idlib outright to expel Syrian troops from areas previously under al-Qaeda’s control, but made the deal to avoid a fight with Russia. The deal leaves the highway open, which is a big win for Syria, as it connects Aleppo and Damascus.

Turkey and their rebel allies retain control of the northern part of Idlib, up to the border, though al-Qaeda has lost a lot of clout, having been chased out of several important towns along the highway before the ceasefire happened.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.