Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday Turkey will deploy troops in Syria’s northern Idlib region as part of a so-called de-escalation agreement brokered by Russia last month.
The issue of troops in Idlib will be voted in the Turkish Parliament today, after which the Turkish army will start operations in the border area to oust “Al-Nusra”.
Work continues on the transfer of Turkish armored vehicles to the Turkish-Syrian border, where Turkey shares a border with Idlib.
Apparently they are really preparing the deployment of Turkish troops in the Western districts of Idlib to take control of the border and remove “Al-Nusra”.
After the capture of the capital of the province of Idlib, it was only a matter of time before “Al-Nusra” and those joined to the group will strike at the SAA. The day before yesterday they began to test the defenses of the SAA to the West of Aleppo, in front of Zahraa quarter.
The removal of “irreconcilable” militants from the Lebanese-Syrian border to Idlib.
In the evening, reports appeared (mostly on pro-Turkish resources) that Russia allegedly relinquished military police forces from Afrin in those areas where the invasion of the Turkish army and the militants controlled by it can be started, and in the canton there are supposedly only 14 personnel.
According to other sources, including and in Afrin, the Russian contingent is still in Kafr Jana. No Official confirmations or denials of this yet. Over Afrin a Russian spy plane has been seen.
May definitely continues to make a good news from the Syrian front. Yesterday was liberated airbase Jirah. Today, the SAA took the district Qaboun in Damascus after extremely bloody, multi-week battles. In recent weeks, the position of the rebels became absolutely unbearable, so they were forced to agree to a standard scheme, with the export of those surviving to Idlib. Thus another enclave in the heart of Damascus abolished, and Assad continuing to adhere to “national reconciliation strategy”, continues busily to expand the controlled territory.
In Northern Hama the front has stabilized. The militants went after the failures of mid-April, fell back to the area of Lataminah and Morek, which is reflected in the rate of advance of the SAA, which is now bogged down in battles for the towns South of Lataminah and South-East of Morek. If in these fights, SAA will be able to grind the main forces of the militants, before the Syrians will open good prospects associated with access to the Central regions of Idlib.
“Al-Nusra” and “Ahrar al-sham” have actually burned their operating reserves in the April fighting and can only rely on fresh recruits from camps in Idlib, as well as a separate jihadist group from other groups. The main problem of fighters is that after the SAA broke through the main defensive line Halfaya-Tablet-al-Imam-Souran, the second line of defense near Lataminah and Morek, in fact is the key to the southern part of Idlib. In the continuation of the offensive of the SAA at the current pace, the consequences of the collapse of the defense of fighters in North Hama can capture and the neighboring parts of the front, particularly in the area Kerdasa and Maan that the favorable SAA for the development of the situation can lead to total collapse of the southern front rebels.
In the Northern Hama heavy fighting continues. SAA has taken Taybat al-Imam and repulsed the counterattacks of “Al-Nusra”, is developing an offensive in the direction of al latamina. The enemy in recent days suffered heavy losses here – according to various estimates from 40 to 60 killed, 6 armored vehicles and more than 10 carts. The district of al latamina subjected to severe bombing by the VKS of the Russian Federation and the Syrian air force, roads leading to city, covered by artillery.
At the moment, the fighting in North Hama is the largest battle of the campaign in 2017 surpassing in its scope the operation of the SAA in the area of Palmyra, the storming of the al-Bab, or the battles in Jobar and Deraa.
Russian defense Ministry officially commented on the story of the “chemical attack in Idlib” pointing out that the cause of the incident was a blow from Syrian aviation in the Khan of Sheyhun against the warehouse of militants, where among other things, they were collecting explosive shells filled with the handicraft production chemical weapons, which the militants have repeatedly used in Syria, which caused collateral damage among fighters and civilians.
In General, the situation for the SAA here in recent days has improved slightly, although on the complete overcoming of the crisis so far, the militants have lost the pace, but the ambitious plans they still have left, so ahead of the SAA are waiting for fierce fighting with a sufficiently skilled adversary. In the battle from both sides involved more than 20 thousand people, dozens of tanks and artillery (even the Syrians TOS-1). In these battles the parties to bear significant losses, a few dozen people a day. Together, and the fighters and the SAA from the beginning of the offensive had lost several hundred men killed and wounded.
The evening of March 22 the case of the SAA in Northern Hama worsened. The militants took Suran and has moved to the South, about the same place where they successfully attacked in September 2016, when their advance was halted by the reserves of the SAA, as well as internal strife. At this point, the attack is carried out by radical groups under the leadership of “al-Nusra”, which took part of his forces from the region of Idlib, to conduct offensive operations separately from the opponents of the “Ahrar al-sham” and the Syrian Free Army.
The rapid advance of Kurdish light infantry and the support of the American aircraft easily broke through the veil of “black” to the North-East of Raqqa, and attempts to counter them by throwing in the reserves do not give the desired results. The Kurds suffered losses, but kept the occupied territories, which creates prerequisites for further “crimping” of Raqqa to the East.
We must understand that in the near future the life in the province of Idlib will be very “exciting”. For example, Idlib will be in the local version to see what would happen with the whole Syria in case if Assad was overthrown and these characters came to power. Considering the sides of the war within Idlib, you can only wish every success to self-destruction.
More than 10,000 fighters from various factions in Idlib, and West of Aleppo joined the “Ahrar al-sham”, which thus becomes the 2nd largest jihadist group in Syria after the “Al-Nusra” and a kind of informal leader of the “green” militants in Idlib (although the talks will continue to be dominated by the representatives of the Syrian Free Army). Uniting around “Ahrar al-sham” caused by ongoing fighting between the militants in Idlib, and West of Aleppo. In fact, the “Ahrar al-sham” intended to be the center of gravity of the forces that are at war with “Al-Nusra”. There are now flocking primarily those jihadists who believe “al-Nusra” too radical or unpromising (in the light of the international situation), but are not willing to negotiate with Assad.
At this point in the fighting killed at least 100 fighters of the various factions on both sides, and Jabhat Fatah Al-sham came to completion, as the militants deported from the enclave in Darayya, sided with this group.
More than 20 civilians were killed in a B-52 strike carried out by the US on the Idlib province in Syria on January 3, according to Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov.
In General, the parties expected the talks in Astana on January 23 and subsequent negotiations between Russia and USA that somehow will clarify many important points for understanding the future course of the winter-spring campaign of 2017. Prerequisites to a complete end of hostilities of course not – it is about changing foreign policy situation around Syria and the definition of the list of hot fronts, where fighting will continue and which will be created by military means the conditions for the subsequent peace talks.This negotiation step is necessary to consolidate a new military-political reality established after the defeat of the “green” in the battle for Aleppo.