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Turkey’s de-escalation efforts around Idlib come with risks

Turkey has erected its final observation post in the Idlib region, but many unknowns and potential hazards remain.
A Turkish military armoured vehicle guards on the border line located opposite the Syrian town of Atimah, Idlib province, in this picture taken from Reyhanli, Hatay province, Turkey October 10, 2017. REUTERS/Osman Orsal - RC117E0C0980

Turkey completed its final Syrian de-escalation military outpost May 16, wrapping up the project in Jisr al-Shughur, a town that abuts Turkey's Akcakale border crossing and that is notorious as the local hub for Salafists and jihadis from Central Asia and the Xinjiang region of China.

With that effort, Ankara has fulfilled its promise to Iran and Russia — the other guarantors of the many peace negotiations held in Astana, Kazakhstan — to build 12 outposts virtually encircling Idlib; Turkey will continue to operate them as well. Now the Turkish army's position separates pro-Iran armed groups and the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, with one mechanized infantry company reinforced with armor at each of these outposts.

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