Turkey withdrawing from second military post in Syria – report

Turkey is removing troops from a second military post in northwest Syria, in a withdrawal from territory controlled by Syrian government forces to a region controlled by Turkey-backed rebels and insurgents, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing Turkish and rebel sources.

Trucks arrived at the observation post located in the town of Shir Maghar in the northern Hama province late Monday night in preparation for the evacuation, a source from a Turkish-backed rebel faction said. 

Turkey has 12 observation posts in the last Syrian rebel stronghold Idlib as a part of a Turkish-Russian deal signed in 2018. The agreement establishes a de-escalation zone to prevent fighting in the province, which is home to nearly three million people.

Last month, Reuters reported Turkey was removing troops from a military post in the region that was encircled by Syrian government forces last year.

The forces pulling back from Shir Maghar will rebase at a new military post in the village of Kokfin, a member of Turkish security forces told Reuters, in the rebel-held area of Idlib where thousands of Turkish troops are stationed.

Turkey is also preparing to withdraw from additional posts located in areas captured by Syrian government forces last year, a Turkish official said.