Damascus, Feb 5 (IANS) Turkish forces were deployed inside the city of Saraqeb, which is the target of a current military operation by the Syrian army in the northwestern province of Idlib, a war monitor reported.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights posted photos online, purporting to show Turkish military vehicles in the city of Saraqeb in the countryside of Idlib province, Xinhua news agency reported.
This comes as part of the recent Turkish-Syrian escalation that took place on Tuesday when both sides exchanged fire in Idlib, which led to the killing of Syrian and Turkish soldiers.
The escalation comes on the heels of the current military operation by the Syrian army, which is advancing toward Saraqeb as the city is the next target after the army captured the key city of Maarat al-Numan in Idlib countryside.
Both Maarat al-Numan and Saraqeb are crucial for the Syrian army to secure the Hama-Aleppo highway, which connects with the Damascus-Hama highway and thus links Damascus in the south with Aleppo in the north.
The observatory said the Syrian army advanced on Tuesday, capturing several villages and towns near the Saraqeb.
It said the army captured 16 areas near Saraqeb over the past few hours, adding that a total of 68 areas have been captured by the Syrian army since January 24 in Idlib.