Ankara (MEE– Turkey’s parliament on Wednesday approved a motion to extend the deployment of Turkish troops in neighboring Syria and Iraq for another year, just as Russian President Vladimir Putin said no military action is planned for the rebel-held Idlib region.
Turkish reinforcements kurdish controlled afrin
Turkish army soldiers
Image: Wikimedia Commons

The Turkish military mandate, first approved by parliament in October 2014, has been renewed every year since then, according to a report in state news outlet Anadolu.

It allows for Turkey to take military action in Iraqi and Syrian territory against the Islamic State (IS) group and others Ankara deems to be terror organizations.

The motion said it was “essential for Turkey’s national security to take all necessary measures … in the face of any threats”.

Ismet Yilmaz, head of the parliament’s defense committee, said there would be no reprieve in Turkey’s fight against “terror”.

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“We will not allow terror groups to shelter or be trained in our country’s southern borders, or stage attacks against our country utilizing the unstable political situation in Iraq and Syria,” Yilmaz was quoted as saying by Anadolu.

Putin, meanwhile, said the demilitarised zone in Syria’s Idlib was effective and no major military actions are planned in the area.

“I have every reason to believe that we will achieve our goals,” Putin said, referring to the demilitarised zone set up by Russia and Turkey in Idlib.

“And that means, no large-scale military actions are expected there,” he said. “Military action for the sake of military action is unnecessary.”

On Tuesday, Russia delivered an S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Syria in defiance of Israeli and US concerns that the arms sale would embolden Iran and escalate the Syrian war.

The system reportedly enables Syria to restrict Israeli access to its airspace since its current anti-aircraft system is relatively outdated.

Related: The Blatant Turkey and Al-Qaeda Partnership in Idlib

Russia sent the missile system to Syria shortly after a military jet was downed there in September, killing 15 Russian airmen.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based monitor group, said in late September that Russian air strikes in the past three years have killed 18,000 people, nearly half of them children.

This post was originally written for and published by Middle East Eye and appears here with permission.