Turkey prepared to retake Syria's northern strategic city

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"Since we do not allow any operations against our own country, we will also not allow any operations against the territorial integrity of our neighbors", he said.

Responding to journalists' questions after the televised speech, Erdogan said Turkish soldiers were not yet in Idlib and the military was supporting opposition Free Syrian Army forces from within Turkey's borders.

Turkey has been amassing troops on the border to support the effort, with several of its top generals inspecting the preparations, the military said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

Last week, a US consulate employee in Istanbul was arrested on charges of links to a cleric blamed for last year's failed coup, a move condemned by Washington as baseless and damaging to ties between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

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HTS has pledged to keep fighting Syrian regime forces and their allies, casting doubt on the de-escalation agreement, but Ankara has worked to lure militants from it, and two groups have defected from the alliance.

Late on Saturday, Turkey deployed tanks and military vehicles on its Syrian border, building up military presence, the report added.

Along with Iraq's central government, Turkey, the US, Iran, and the United Nations have spoken out against Monday's illegitimate poll, warning it would distract from the ongoing fight against ISIS and further destabilize the region.

Some mortar rounds slammed near the Deir Hassan camp for Syrian displaced people on the border area in northern Idlib, amid a state of fear among the people there. At the same time, the Turkish military could launch an operation within Idlib.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara, Turkey, May 30, 2017. The three countries agreed in May to be guarantors of a cease-fire to help end the six-year civil war in Syria. Russian Federation is providing air support.

The agreement came despite Russian Federation and Iran backing President Assad and Turkey wanting him gone.

Commenting on the coordination with Russia, Erdogan said: "Relations with the regime is something looked after by Russia, and we have taken measures in other areas".

Syria's former Al Qaeda affiliate was once a key ally for many rebels but they are now abandoning it as the jihadists face a Turkey-backed operation in its stronghold.

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