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Turkish deployment may redraw battle lines in Syria's Idlib

The Turkish military deployment in Idlib has a direct impact on armed factions in the region, some of which have already accused Turkey of implementing Russia’s plans.
Turkish soldiers stand near armoured vehicles during a demonstration in support of the Turkish army's Idlib operation near the Turkey-Syria border near Reyhanli, Hatay, on October 10, 2017.
The Turkish army has launched a reconnaissance mission in Syria's largely jihadist-controlled northwestern Idlib province in a bid to create a de-escalation zone, the military said on October 9.  / AFP PHOTO / ILYAS AKENGIN        (Photo credit should read ILYAS AKENGIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Ankara’s zigzagging between its fading regional ambitions, national security priorities, the conditions set by its partners in the Astana process and the realities on the ground continue to shift Turkish policy in Syria. The Turkish deployment in Idlib — part of the latest de-escalation zone agreement in Astana — comes as another product of those vacillations and the narrow room Ankara has to maneuver.

Ever since the 1991 Gulf War, Turkish political movements like the ruling Justice and Development Party have upheld the creed that Turkey needs to be actively involved to avoid harm from turmoil in the Middle East.

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