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New Turkish military operation in Syria could target Idlib

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Turkey is likely to resume its Euphrates Shield military operation in Syria, according to Yuri Mavashev, a senior political researcher at the Center for Modern Turkish Studies.

On August 24, 2016, Turkish forces, supported by Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels and United States-led coalition aircraft, launched a military operation dubbed “Euphrates Shield” to liberate the Syrian border town of Jarabulus and the surrounding area from Daesh.

The signals sent by Turkish high-ranking officials, including President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, as well as some analytical reports indicate that Turkey may be considering the resumption of the operation started a year ago,” Mavashev said at a conference in Moscow.

The campaign was the first incursion of the Turkish military in Syria. The operation was criticized by the Syrian Kurds and Damascus, who accused Ankara of violating Syria’s territorial integrity. After Jarablus was retaken, the offensive continued to the southwest. In the end of February, Chief of the Turkish General Staff Hulusi Akar said that control was taken over the city of al-Bab and the goals of the Euphrates Shield operation in Syria had been achieved. The campaign ended on March 29.

According to the expert, despite the fact that Turkish forces took control over a certain territory in northern Syria, Ankara is not comfortable with its current status since “it lacks strategic initiative.” Mavashev pointed out that Turkey is now concerned over the situation in the Syrian province of Idlib.

The situation in Idlib has changed. Turkey relied on Ahrar-al-Sham group there, but it lost control over the region. Now Idlib is under control of Tahrir al Sham, a merger group between al-Nusra Front and some other radical groups,” Mavashev said.

in late July, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the jihadi coalition led by al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front (also known as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham), expelled Ahrar al-Sham, an opposition group aligned with Turkey and Qatar, from the city of Idlib and its neighborhood.

Ankara signaled that a new military operation might be in consideration for northern Syria. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Yildirim said that Ankara is taking all “necessary measures” along the border with Idlib. He stressed that Turkey would defend national interests, the right to sovereignty and security if needed. According to Mavashev, Idlib is going to be the “next target” for a Turkish military offensive.

However, there is one problematic point. Turkey wants to strengthen the positions of its allied groups in Idlib because Ankara doesn’t want the region to be controlled by Damascus. But the international community may stand against such a plan. Turkey knows that if they launch a military operation now it will have big consequences. As an option, Turkey may discuss its stance on Idlib at the Astana talks and coordinate it with Russia,” the expert suggested.

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Barcelona attacker shot by Spanish police in video

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This is the extraordinary moment a ‘drugged-up’ terrorist in a fake suicide vest was gunned down – and then got up again – during the second terror attack on a Spanish beach resort 70 miles from Barcelona overnight.

The jihadi was hit with several bullets but clambered to his feet shouting taunts, climbed some crash barriers and then walked towards armed officers who had to shoot him again.

He was part of a group of five terrorist who giggled and grinned at police after their Audi A3 car overturned having ploughed through crowds on the seafront in Cambrils on the Costa Dorada at 1am today, killing one woman and injuring six more including a policeman.

Eight hours earlier a ‘linked’ ISIS van assault on the packed Los Ramblas boulevard in Barcelona killed 13 including a three-year-old girl and injured at least 100 victims from 34 different countries.

The Cambrils terrorists bailed out of their crashed Audi clutching knives used to stab a woman in the face and were seen smiling at police who shot them dead in the street at around 1am.

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Police shoot five terrorists attempting second deadly attack in Catalonia, Spain

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GOE solved hostage crisis in BES bank after attempted bank robbery - shots fired

Catalan police conducted a raid early on Friday, linked to an attempted van ramming attack in the coastal town of Cambrils, about 60 miles from Barcelona. Four suspects were killed during the raid, while the fifth, who was injured and arrested, died in custody.

Catalan police say that one terrorist may still be at large, and that the attackers may have been wearing suicide belts. Catalan civil protection authorities have said that six civilians and one police officer were wounded during the operation.

Catalan police have tweeted that they believe the Cambrils attack was a terrorist incident, and that the perpetrators have been killed.

Spanish outlet Cadena Ser has reported that the Cambrils attackers also attempted a van ramming attack in the town square, but the van overturned and the occupants were shot by police.

The incident comes just hours after Thursday’s van ramming attack in Barcelona’s city square that left 13 dead.

Police are examining possible links of terror suspects killed in Cambrils to Barcelona van attack, which Daesh has claimed responsibility for. The similar modus operandi of the attacks would suggest that there is some connection.

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