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Erdogan, Putin to Meet Monday in Sochi as Turkey Moves More Weapons into Syria

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled to meet Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on Monday, amid reports of a heavy Turkish arms drop into Syria in recent days.

The two leaders last met at a summit earlier this month in Tehran, and this next meeting will come just days after the Turkish army sent more ‘arms and ammunition’ into Syria’s Idlib and Hama provinces, according to a report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) released on Saturday.

The independent media outlet Muraselon is also citing multiple reports of both Turkish weapons and troops moving into these regions, including to areas under the control of the ‘rebel’ coalition National Liberation Front (NLF) – a collection of unsavory characters and the main rival of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) in Idlib, according to IRIN:

Turkey’s favourite is the NLF, which is led by Fadlallah al-Hajji, a Muslim Brotherhood ally. The NLF includes Turkey-friendly Islamists like Ahrar al-Sham, the Noureddine al-Zengi Brigades, Failaq al-Sham, Jaish al-Ahrar, and groups that fought under the Free Syrian Army banner, like the Victory Army and the 2nd Coastal Division.

Big but brittle, the NLF is held together by Turkish sponsorship and shared enemies: al-Assad’s government, Syrian Kurdish groups, and hardline jihadists.

Turkey’s escalated military presence and heavy arms drop into known jihadist havens ahead of the upcoming Sochi meeting is unwelcome, and presents the potential risk for a military showdown in the future between Turkish and Syrian/Russian forces – something that all sides have warned against but Turkey’s apparent ‘double-dealing’ isn’t helping.

READ MORE SYRIA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Syria Files

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