Turkish troops at one of 12 observation posts in northwest Syria (File)

Turkey’s military is pulling out of an observation post in northwest Syria, with Turkish sources saying that other posts and military positions will be dismantled.

The Turkish army, which entered northwest Syria in August 2016 and has checked a further Russia-regime takeover of opposition areas, is withdrawing from the post at Morek

at northern Hama Province. Control towers and logistical equipment inside the base are being taken down and the walls are being removed.

The post has been surrounded since last summer, amid an 11-month Russia-regime offensive that seized almost all of northern Hama Province and part of neighboring Idlib Province, the largest remaining opposition territory in the 115-month Syrian conflict.

The offensive, which killed about 2,000 civilians, injured thousands, and displaced more than 1 million, was halted on March 5 by an agreement between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. However, Assad regime forces have continued to shell inside Idlib and there have been periodic Russian airstrikes.

See Russia-Regime Airstrikes on Northwest Syria as Human Rights Watch Documents “Apparent War Crimes”

Turkish forces are reportedly being moved from Morek to the Jabal Al-Zawiya region in Idlib, where Russia has been bombing and pro-Assad units have been threatening a renewed offensive.

The Erdoğan Government has not officially confirmed the withdrawal.

Morek was part of a ring of 12 observation posts around Idlib and northern Hama, as part of a Russian-Turkish agreement in September 2018 for a “de-escalation zone”. Ankara has about 50 posts across northern Syria.

Eight of the observation posts in the ring and five fortified positions are surrounded by pro-Assad forces.