Syrian rebel fighters from the recently formed National Liberation Front take part in training in Idlib province. AFP / Aaref WATAD
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Turkey is reinforcing its military posts inside Syria's rebel-held province of Idlib, Turkish and Syrian rebels sources say, seeking to deter a government offensive that it says would unleash a humanitarian disaster on its border. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that an assault by the army and its Russian and Iran-backed allies on Idlib, home to around 3 million people, will uproot hundreds of thousands in one of Syria's last rebel strongholds.At a meeting in Tehran last Friday with the presidents of Russia and Iran, seen as the last realistic chance to avert all-out conflict in the insurgent-held region, Erdogan failed to win a pledge of cease-fire from Assad's two main backers.But his Defense Minister Hulusi Akar says Turkey remains determined to halt the weekslong airstrikes on Idlib and forestall a ground offensive, while officials warn that Turkey would respond if its forces inside Idlib come under fire.A senior security source said the army has reinforced 12 Turkish military posts inside Idlib itself.
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