Turkish troops deployed to the Sheikh Barakat hilltops along the Aleppo/Idlib provincial border during the overnight hours of October 12-13 to reinforce the northern de-escalation zone in Idlib recently carved out in Astana negotiations last month.
Unconfirmed reports claim the Turkish military convoys entered Syria via the Bab al-Hawa border crossing with an escort of Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) militants and deployed to Sheikh Barakat. The strategic hilltop faces the opposition-controlled Idlib province to its west and lies just 20 miles south of the Kurdish stronghold of Afrin.
HTS religious leader Abu al-Fateh al-Farghali issued a fatwa in opposition to the foreign occupation of the Idlib province; however, an additional statement from al-Farghali offers relative support for the Turkish military. Farghali said, “We ought to note the reality that the Turkish army has requested positions opposite the atheist factions (Kurds) with a limited force under the mujahideen’s sway, one that in no circumstance exercises control or can in these areas in which Allah’s law is supreme. It is also because of the need through which mujahideen are passing, and how their enemies have converged on them. So the mujahideen emirs will allow this in light of these conditions and the realities on the ground. Only Allah knows.” Credit: YouTube/Thiqa Agency via Storyful