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Turkey might have to do its own dirty work at Idlib

Ankara faces tough choices now that al-Qaeda-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham has routed Turkey's proxies at Idlib.
Members from a coalition of rebel groups called "Jaish al Fateh", also known as "Army of Fatah" (Conquest Army), man a checkpoint in Idlib city, Syria July 18, 2017. Picture taken July 18, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah - RTX3C9L8

Ankara faces a major quandary now that al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) has seized Syria’s Idlib area abutting Turkey’s Hatay province.

HTS captured more than 30 locations in the clashes of July 18-24, decimating Turkish-backed Ahrar al-Sham and its allies, who were forced to retreat from Idlib south to rural Hama. HTS gained control of areas with border crossings to Turkey. Only the Bab al-Hawa border crossing opposite Turkey’s Cilvegozu was handed over to a neutral civilian administration after the adversaries reached an agreement July 21.

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