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DECEMBER 2021

Turkey Tries To Impede The Offensive On Greater Idlib, But Can It?

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Turkey Tries To Impede The Offensive On Greater Idlib, But Can It?
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A large-scale ground operation may indeed be looming over Syria’s Greater Idlib, judging by recent Turkish reinforcements.

As a show of force, Ankara established another post in the terrorist-infested region.

Turkey has dozens of observation posts, but what makes this one special is that it is in the town of Afes in the southern Idlib countryside, only a few hundred meters away from the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) positions in the town of Saraqib.

If they wanted, they could even throw stones at the Syrian troops.

In total, two battle tanks, four armored personnel carriers, three armored vehicles and about 50 troops were deployed in the post that oversees the Lattakia-Aleppo highway, the M4, and the Hama-Aleppo highway, the M5.

A recent report by the SANA confirmed the fact that was obvious for a while – the Turkish military deployed large reinforcements in Greater Idlib recently in order to impede any operation by the SAA and its allies, namely Russia.

Still, Syria is turning into a swamp for Ankara. On October 10th, two servicemen were killed and three Turkish-backed Syrian militants were wounded when their vehicles came under attack near the Syrian town of Marea. The attack was allegedly carried out by Kurdish forces, most likely the Afrin Liberation Force.

Just days earlier, on October 7th, a Turkish service member was killed in an attack that targeted a position he was manning near the village of al-Twais in the Aleppo countryside. On October 5th, an explosive device targeted a vehicle carrying Turkish officers in Greater Idlib.

Meanwhile, as Israel has done time and again – it carried out strikes at a time when developments in Syria were moving along quite well for the Damascus government.

Late on October 8th, 6 Israeli F-16 fighter jets fired 12 guided missiles at the T-4 air base in Homs province. Syrian service members were wounded in the attack.

Iranian-backed forces are known to be stationed in T4 air base. In 2019, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps moved its main weapons supply center in Syria from Damascus International Airport to the T-4 base.

Separately, in a promising sign of normalization, the UAE’s economy ministry said that a deal was signed with Syria on future plans to enhance economic cooperation and explore new sectors.

Initially, the UAE supported the so-called “moderate opposition” but as the Damascus government captured more than 90% of the country, they have switched their policy towards more acceptance of President Bashar al-Assad.

Quite a bit of progress has been made, despite all of the efforts by Turkey, Israel and the United States, among others attempting to stop it. The Damascus government is on the brink of controlling even more territory, following the successes in Daraa. Greater Idlib remains the last significant militant stronghold, and it appears that it’s only a matter of time until it is dealt with.

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