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The Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) are especially busy in the skies over Greater Idlib.
On September 19th alone, VKS warplanes carried out 17 strikes on 5 different positions under the control of the de-facto ruler of the region – the al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).
The Russian airstrikes coincided with a heavy rocket attack by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) on militants’ positions in the outskirts of the town Jisr al-Shughur in the western countryside of Idlib.
Recently, several reports said that the SAA and its allies were preparing to launch a new ground operation in Greater Idlib to deter HTS and its allies as well as to reopen and secure the Lattakia-Aleppo highway, also known as the M4.
This could prove entirely true, as all targets struck by the VKS and the SAA are located on the southern part of the M4 highway and could be an attempt to pave way for a combing operation.
Meanwhile, HTS is reportedly expanding its influence in the Turkish-occupied northern Syrian area of Afrin, according to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The SDF media center revealed that HTS commanders had visited the Yazidi town of Bosoufane as well as the districts of Jandaris and Sheikh Hadid in Afrin. There they met with leaders of the Turkish-backed factions to carry out negotiations.
HTS terrorists established posts in Bosoufane and a number of other areas in southern and western Afrin. They reportedly use forged documents provided by the Turkish-backed al-Shmaiya Front to move in the area.
The terrorist group is also about to reach a deal with the Suleyman Shah Brigade, one of the largest Turkish-backed factions in northern Syria.
HTS regularly violates the ceasefire agreement in Greater Idlib, while Ankara turns a blind eye to the developments in the region. Now, it appears that Turkey is providing even more tangible support allowing the group to spread its influence in the regions it occupies and negotiate with the factions it supports.
Western efforts to whitewash HTS and its terrorist leader, Abu Mohamad al-Julani, are evidently ramping up. The group is being promoted as a reformed, acceptable version of al-Qaeda, since the US and co. need another reliable partner in the region.
The United States is preparing for unknown activities, as helicopters transported dozens of ISIS terrorists from a prison run by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the city of al-Qamishli in the northern countryside of Syria’s al-Hasakah to a US base located in the governorate’s southern countryside. Approximately 60 terrorists were taken out, and a total of about 150 were taken out earlier in 2021.
According to Syrian media, these terrorists are trained and re-equipped to fight against the Damascus government.