Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announced on Tuesday that his country’s military operations in rebel-held Idlib in neighboring Syria are aimed at curbing the flow of refugees towards it.
“The reason for our activities is to prepare the groundwork and prevent a potential migrant wave into our country and lower tensions,” Yildirim told a parliamentary meeting of the ruling AK Party.
The premier also said Turkey aimed to create control points in Idlib for future deployments, and that the activities of the armed forces in Idlib would help prevent internal conflicts between civilians and militant groups in the region.
On Sunday, a Turkish army reconnaissance team scouted the Idlib province before an expected military operation to impose peace in the bitterly contested Syrian northwest.
It launched the operation on Monday after clashes were reported with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had announced the operation on Saturday.
He said that it was possible following an agreement with Russia and Iran and that it was being launched in cooperation with the Free Syrian Army.