advance guard

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See: precursor
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The little army had been marching for some hours when the advance guard halted a party bound south upon a crossroad.
The Arabic-language website of Russia's state news agency, Sputnik, quoted a source close to the Turkish government as saying that the army is on the threshold of military operation against the Kurds in the town of Afrin in Northern Aleppo, adding that the army has dispatched its advance guards to regions near Afrin for the final reconnaissance operation.
You are both the custodians of learning and advance guards of the future.

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