This is what is going on now in liberated areas in Idleb

IDLEB, (ST)_The official in charge of Idleb governorate Mohammad Fadi al-Saadon has affirmed that there is cooperation with international organizations to rebuild Khan Sheikhoun city after the Syrian army liberated it from terrorist groups in August 2019. “The extent of the damage in Khan Shikhon , Maarret al-Noaman and  Taman’aa cities in Idleb has been evaluated and we are working on removing rubbles and repairing sewage pipes and main roads in order to facilitate the return of the displaced people to their homes,” al-Saadon said.He added that 2 schools were equipped in the city of Khan Shikhoun in order to receive the students, who returned with their families. 

The government will fund several development projects in liberated areas in Idleb, according to the official, who cited that several fuel stations will be put into service for vehicles passing through the  Hama-Aleppo international road . Moreover, municipalities will be provided with tractors and street sweepers to clean the roads. As for the current situation in Senjar village and nearby villages that were liberated last year, al-Saadon said that 48 schools and service centers were opened there . “Three health centers  will be opened in Hawwa, Senjar, Hmimat al-Dayer towns soon. And we are working now with international organizations to supply Hmimat al-Dayer area with water. ” Around 200 literacy courses plus awareness courses will be held in liberated villages by the Ministry of Labaour and Social Affairs in cooperation with international organizations. These courses aim at making the participants aware of the risks of explosive wastes and how to carry out small and micro projects. 

Basma Qaddour

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GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT (AGAIN): UN REPORT ON ALLEGED RUSSIAN ‘WAR CRIMES’ IN SYRIA IS BASED ON ‘WE SAY SO’ & UNNAMED SOURCES

March 7, 2020, RT.com

A UN-mandated report, which accuses Russia of war crimes in Syria, heavily relies on anonymous sources and lacks evidence, but also smacks of deliberate disinformation that is halting the eradication of terrorism in Idlib.

Earlier this week, the The Independent International Commission of Inquiry into the Syrian Arab Republic released a report largely lambasting Syria and Russia in their fight against terrorism in Syria. Corporate media were quick to echo allegations of Russian “war crimes” in Syria, all while diminishing the crimes of terrorist groups against Syrian civilians and soldiers.

The report does passingly acknowledge that Syria, Russia and allies are fighting “armed opposition groups, including Hay’at Tahrir” (al-Qaeda); the rest of the document reads mainly as a litany of accusations against Syria and Russia.

In the “mandate and methodology” section, the report notes that its information is based on “233 interviews conducted in the region and from Geneva” as well as from governments, NGOs, and UN reports.

So a report based on testimonies taken in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon or by phone, is again negating the masses of Syrians in Syria who would like their truths to be heard, the terrorism they have endured to be known.

I scoured the 24 pages of the report, but even in the annexes I could find no transparent and credible sources, only the following vague terms repeatedly referred-to: Witnesses, civilians, NGO, rescuers, medical teams, first responders, flight spotters, and early warning observers.

As Western media has largely focused on two accusations of Russian war crimes, I’ll address these here.

Russia War Crime – Accusation One

The first of two major accusations against Russia is of conducting airstrikes on Marat al-Numan, Idlib, on July 22, 2019, allegedly killing 43 civilians and targeting a market.

Details for this claim are provided by the unnamed sources mentioned above. Quite possibly, information was also provided by the usual suspects, like the one-man (Rami), UK-based “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights,” and the terrorist-affiliated White Helmets fake rescue group, which, by 2020, should need no introduction.

The commission refers to flight spotters, “civilians who monitor aircraft flights to provide…advance warning prior to an air strike.”

But who are these civilians? Do they use the early-warning radar systems like those provided to the White Helmets? Are they neutral observers? Or the usual sources embedded with terrorists that we are meant to believe as credible?

The report claims it had obtained “satellite imagery, video footage and photos” regarding the alleged airstrikes. Yet none are included in the report.

It claims it “obtained flight communication intercepts conducted in the Russian language.” 

How did it supposedly obtain these intercepts? How do they know they are authentic? How do we know, since the alleged intercepts are not shared in the report?

Russia has emphasized that “Russian aviation was not used in this area on July 22 and did not fly there.”

Russian Colonel General Sergei Rudskoy noted that reconnaissance two days after the alleged attacks showed, “the allegedly destroyed market is completely intact and functions as usual.”

Given that Syria is surveilled by the intelligence services of the US, Israel, and Turkey, is it really plausible that Russia would be so careless as to broadcast their moves over airways?

So, for claim number one, we are presented with a number of unnamed sources. There is no transparency as to who these sources are, what their allegiances are (civilians or members of al-Qaeda or other armed groups in that area) and no visual evidence presented.

Just the words of the commission. Trust them.

Journalist and blogger Vanessa Beeley, who was last week in Marat al-Numan, told me “I can categorically say that the White Helmet centers in Marat al Numan were next door to Nusra Front, as always.”

Keep that in mind when watching their dramatic footage of the alleged July 22 attacks.

Accusation Number Two

The second claim concerns a Russian airstrike on a refugee compound near Haas, Idlib, on August 16, 2019, allegedly killing 20 people.

The commission’s segment on this accusation is long, with details about why people came to live in that compound, on the agricultural fields surrounding the area, that children played in summer in an open area of the compound, and that there was a kindergarten and schools, and also a prayer room!

All this detail paints a very intimate picture: we can imagine the setting and the subsequent horrors.

But whereas the report is quite long on such details, it is scant on one rather important thing: evidence.

It relays what purported events took place, but again gives no specifics on who the cited sources are or on why they should be credible, given that Idlib is under the control of al-Qaeda.

Having myself looked into previous anti-Syria war propaganda, including articles by the New York Times, I have found that, time and again, sources cited inevitably display allegiance to terrorist groups.

For claim number two, the report again refers to intercepted communications “in the Russian language,” a claim which stands against that of Russia’s Defense Ministry on its pilots’ communication policies.

Again, no supporting visuals are included in the report.

In fact, in the entire 24 pages, a sole photo is provided: a detailed map of Syria.

We are simply meant to take the word of the commission.

It’s possible that the UN commission also relied on the report of Human Rights Watch. However, that report is also replete with anonymous sources and devoid of names and evidence.

Based on all of these vague points, the UN commission concluded “reasonable grounds to believe” the guilt of Russia having committed war crimes.

Since when do we need more than that, right?  Think WMD Iraq

Commission’s Track Record of War-Crime Reports

You would imagine since the commission’s mandate is to report all war crimes in Syria since 2011, it would be replete with massacres committed by terrorists, including the incessant beheadings, rapings, public executions, torture, the underground prisons (including under hospitals), the caging of civilians and use of them as human shields.

Scrolling through the commission’s archives, one finds only reports echoing the war propaganda popular at any given time, vilifying the main parties fighting al-Qaeda, Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and other terrorists in Syria: Syria and Russia.

The latest report covers the period from July 2019 to January 2020. Yet, while briefly admitting the presence of al-Qaeda in Idlib, the report does not highlight the terror of civilians targeted by al-Qaeda & co in areas they control, something which colleagues and myself have done.

And nowhere could I find reports of the terrorist bombings of civilians in Aleppo city, which have occurred routinely, long since the liberation in late 2016 of Aleppo City until only recently, when Aleppo’s countryside was restored to peace, all to the silence of corporate media.

Accusations of war crimes are a serious matter, requiring solid, transparent, evidence. From what the UN has presented, there is no clear evidence. Instead, there is a lot of “we say so,” and otherwise a reliance on sources and witnesses not named and quite possibly al-Qaeda-affiliated. In what court of law would such sources be considered acceptable?

The UN, US, and Western media play a guilty-until-proven-innocent game when it comes to their accusations against Syria and Russia. But it is they who have proven time-and-again to be guilty of war propaganda and of whitewashing terrorism in Syria.

Related:

‘Sorry, but it’s fake…again’: Russian military debunk NYT report on bombing of civilians in Syria, December 3, 2019

Excerpt:

“On Sunday, the leading US newspaper came up with a heartbreaking story of a housing complex for families displaced by the Syrian conflict being bombed in what the Times called a Russian airstrike in August. The journalists then stated that they were able to trace the air raid back to the Russian Air Force using “eyewitness photos and videos,” and claimed to have a trove of flight logs and cockpit tapes.

…Responding to the accusations on Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry has highlighted flaws in the report – perhaps the most glaring of which is that Russian pilots neither receive commands, nor report on their mission mid-flight, Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov argued.

“As frustrating as it can be for the masterminds behind this fake, but we have to say it once again: passing of coordinates to Russian bomber pilots and reports on task execution are not made by voice openly on air”

In fact, it is not the first time the Russian military has refuted claims that appeared in America’s newspaper of record. The Defense Ministry issued a similar correction following another damning piece by the same outlet in October. That story accused Russia of bombing UN-protected hospitals, some of which turned out to be militant hideouts tucked away in caves in the Idlib province. Konashenkov also questioned other evidence presented in the Times’ latest report, calling it “primitive and ill-defined” and adding that “In Russia, it is called a shot in the dark.”

نقاط على الحروف هزيمة أردوغان العثمانيّ… وصعوبة التسويات

ناصر قنديل

قد يصعب على الكثيرين استيعاب حقيقة أن الجيش الثاني في حلف الناتو قد مُني بهزيمة هي الأسرع التي يمكن أن يتلقاها جيش مثله، في ظروف حشد لها كل مقدراته السياسية والعسكرية، وشحذ لها كل التعبئة الداخلية والخارجية. فخلال الأيام التي أعقبت دخول الجيش السوري إلى الريف الغربي والشمالي لحلب منتصف شهر شباط الماضي، بدأ التحضير للحملة العسكرية التي أعلن الرئيس التركي رجب أردوغان عن موعدها مسبقاً في نهاية شهر شباط، وحدّد لها هدفاً هو إعادة الجيش السوري إلى خلف نقاط المراقبة التركية، قاصداً بالتحديد تراجع الجيش السوري من مدينتي سراقب ومعرة النعمان، وفرض هذا التراجع بالقوة كشرط لوقف الحملة.

خلال خمسة عشر يوماً استنفر أردوغان كل وحوش جبهة النصرة والتركستان والشيشان والإيغور وقام بضمّهم إلى نخبة كوماندوس جيشه، وأدخل مئات الآليات وآلاف العناصر إلى منطقة المعركة، وجهّز طائراته المسيّرة الحديثة من الجيل الخامس، وربّض مدافعه وجدّد إحداثياتها، ووظف سقوط قتلاه بالقصف السوري في منطقة جسر الشغور لاستنهاض الروح القومية حول الجيش، لخلق حالة تعبوية داخلية تحاصر كل صوت معارض للحرب، وخاطب حلف الناتو طلباً للدعم، ورفع وتيرة مواقفه السياسيّة تجاه دعوة روسيا للحياد منعاً للتصادم، وجهّز مخابراته لاستعمال قضية النازحين للضغط على أوروبا، وعندما بدأت العملية العسكرية نحو سراقب كانت طائراته ومدفعيّته تنجحان باستهداف وإصابة عشرات المواقع للجيش السوريّ وقوى المقاومة، بما فيها المنشآت الصحية، موقعاً عشرات الشهداء ومئات الجرحى، قامت في ظلالها وحداته المستعدّة بالتقدم نحو مدينة سراقب، وارتكاب مجازر وحشية بحق المقاتلين الذي وقعوا في الأسر، والتمثيل بجثث الذين سقطوا شهداء وتعرّضوا لأبشع أنواع التنكيل.

خلال ليلة واحدة بدات العملية المعاكسة لاسترداد سراقب وامتدت من بُعيد منتصف الليل بقليل حتى ساعات الفجر، وخلال أربع ساعات فقط هزم الجيش العثماني، المكوّن من الجيش التركي كنواة، ومن ملحقات من جنسيات مختلفة من عتاة القتلة الإرهابيين، وفشلت التغطية النارية بتأمين القتال التراجعيّ فكان الانسحاب العشوائي وما فيه من خسائر، ومع الصباح كانت وحدات الجيش السوري وحلفائه في المقاومة تتوضع في كل أحياء وأنحاء سراقب، ومن دون استراحة محارب تواصل هجومها نحو النيرب، لتأمين إعادة فتح الطريق الدولي، وسط تراجع متواصل وانهزامي للجيش العثمانيّ؛ بينما على جبهات الطريق الدولي بين حلب واللاذقية يحصد الجيش السوري مزيداً من الانتصارات، مستعيداً ما كان قد خسره مع الهجوم العثماني الموازي، مستكملاً ما كان في خطته قبل ساعة الصفر العثمانية.

ما جرى ليس عادياً ولا بسيطاً ولا تكتيكياً، إنه انتصار الدولة الوطنية السورية، ومشروع المقاومة على مشروع مزدوج، قطبه الأول أميركي يريد ترك الفوضى وراءه بعد الانسحاب بفتح الباب لقتال لا يتوقف بين ما يعتقده مشروعين إمبراطوريين إيراني وتركي لتغيير خرائط سايكس بيكو، واستبدالها بتقاسم نفوذ يعيد أمجاد الإمبراطوريتين ويطبق خرائط برنارد لويس البديلة القائمة على ثنائية مذهبية، وقطبه الثاني تركي عثماني يراهن على الخاصرة الرخوة في مناطق التجاذب الأميركي الروسي لوضع اليد عليها، وتوسيع نطاقه الجغرافي ترجمة لحلم تاريخي فاتت فرصته قبل قرن مضى مع سقوط الإمبراطورية العثمانية وعجزها عن سلخ المزيد من جغرافيا سورية والعراق.

فات أصحاب المشروعين الأميركي والتركي، أن تفوّق إيران في المنطقة ناجم عن فارقين يميزانها عن المشروع التركي، الأول أنها لا تملك مشروعاً لتوسيع النفوذ الإيراني بل مشروع لمحور مقاومة يضم حلفاء يؤمنون بأولوية المواجهة مع المشروع الصهيوني في المنطقة، لا يزال التركي يرفض الانضواء ضمنه. وهذه الأولوية تجعل الحلفاء حلفاء فعلاً، لا مجرد أتباع لمشروع استعماري جديد، والثاني أن إيران تستثمر لتعزيز محور المقاومة على دعم مشروع الدولة الوطنية في البلدان التي تدور فيها وحولها الحروب، من لبنان إلى اليمن والعراق وصولاً إلى سورية، التي تجد فيها النموذج الأهم لترجمة هذا المفهوم، ولأن في سورية مشروعاً حاضراً وقوياً للدولة الوطنية، يحظى بدعم شعبه ويمتلك جيشاً مقتدراً، فإن نوعاً جديداً من الحروب يدور اليوم عنوانه بالنسبة للحلفاء الروس والإيرانيين، دعم الدولة الوطنية السورية، لذلك يتفوق المقاتلون في محور المقاومة بمعنوياتهم وصدق قضيتهم على مَن ظنّ الأميركي والتركي أنهم أقدر على تحقيق النصر.

نصر سراقب يقول إن لا قضية تستحق بالنسبة للتركي ليموت من أجلها في سورية، وإن من يقاتلون مع الجيش التركي في الجيش العثماني يعرفون أنهم عملاء بلا قضية، بينما يستبسل السوريون في الدفاع عن وطنهم وأرضهم ودولتهم الوطنية، ويستشهد مقاتلو المقاومة دفاعاً عن محور يعلمون يقيناً أنه ضمانة ميزان رادع لـ«إسرائيل» وركيزة إسناد للمقاومة في فلسطين، تشكل سورية قلعته الرئيسية على خط الاشتباك مع كيان الاحتلال، ونقطة الوصل بين أطرافه، وتقع المواجهة مع الجيش العثماني في قلب أهدافه لحماية هذه القلعة وإسقاط الرهانات الإسرائيلية على إرباكها.

التسوية تزداد صعوبة بالنسبة لأردوغان بعد الهزيمة، وصعوبة تحقيق نصر جديد مع انهيارات تصيب بنية جيشه العثماني المنهزم أمام تقدّم الجيش السوريّ وحلفائه رغم ضراوة النيران، وسيصبح الحديث عن تسوية ممكناً إذا ارتضى أردوغان التسليم بعنوان هو الدولة الوطنية السورية، تخضع له سائر العناوين. وهذا ما ينتظره في موسكو قبل الهزيمة وبعدها، وسيبقى!

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SYRIAN-TURKISH CONFLICT IN GREATER IDLIB: RESULTS OF FEBRUARY 24-28, 2020

South Front

The week of February 24th became for the Turkish government and its al-Qaeda-linked proxies a silver of light in the realm of Assad darkness. Since December 19th, 2019, Syrian government forces have taken control of approximately 2,400km2 in the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo. In the course of the operation, they have repelled several Turkish-led counter-attacks and dealt several painful blows to the Turkish Army. However, towards the end of February 2020, Turkish military efforts finally produced results, and they were important ones.

By the start of the week, the Syrian Army had halted offensive actions east of Idlib city and redeployed most of its well-trained and motivated units from there to the southern part of the province. Troops and equipment of the 25th Special Forces Division and the 4th Armoured Division joined a ground operation to cut off the front salient south of the M4 highway. This weakened the army defense near Saraqib and Turkish-led forces immediately exploited this.

On February 24, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Turkistan Islamic Party, the National Front for Liberation and other al-Qaeda-linked groups directly supported by Turkish artillery, unmanned aerial vehicles and special forces launched an attack on Nayrab. They employed over a dozen battle tanks and Turkish-supplied armoured vehicles. Turkish-led forces entered Nayrab on the same day and consolidated control over the town on February 25. Two battle tanks, four infantry fighting vehicles, a Shilka self-propelled gun, a GAZ truck, a 23mm gun mounted on a truck, two bulldozers and five Konkurs anti-tank guided missiles were seized. On the same day, the Syrian Army shot down a Turkish TAI Anka unmanned combat aerial vehicle.

Then, Turkish-led forces developed their advance towards Saraqib capturing the villages of Salihiya, Afis and entering the town of Saraqib itself. By the morning of February 27, they had gained full control over Saraqib and continued their advance. The M5 highway, which Damascus had officially declared reopened, was once again cut off. In the course of this attack, Turkish-led forces captured a T-90 battle tank, a T-72 tank and several other vehicles. Turkish forces also employed at least 2 MANPADs against warplanes of the Syrian Air Force bombing targets east of Saraqib but failed to down any aircraft.

The fall of Saraqib demonstrated disorganization, an apparent lack of morale and the failure of the fortification efforts by Syrian troops remaining in the area. Pro-government sources also blamed Russia for the lack of close air support during the fighting. At the same time, pro-militant sources reported dozens of Russian airstrikes on their positions. The villages of Dadikh, Jawbas and Kafr Battikh fell into the hands of Turkish-led forces after Saraqib. Al-Qaeda propaganda claims that the goal of the Turkish-led push is to retake Maarat al-Numan. Several counter-attacks conducted by Syrian troops, including the most recent on the evening of February 27, resulted in no gains.

It’s unlikely that the situation can be turned to favor of the Syrians without additional reinforcements from the 25th Special Forces Division and other battle-hardened units. Right now, the Syrian military is redeploying its elite units to the area and preparing for a large counter-attack.

Pro-Turkish sources provide numerous and often conflicting reports on casualties among Syrian forces. If one sums up the claims by the Turkish Defense Ministry on Twitter, one will find that about 500 Syrian troops were allegedly killed or injured in Turkish-led operations. According to other pro-al-Qaeda sources, over 100 Syrian troops were killed in Saraqib alone. The Syrian side does not release such claims, however developments on the ground speak for themselves. On February 26, the Turkish Defense Ministry said that 2 Turkish soldiers were killed and 2 others were injured in a Syrian airstrike. On February 27, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that 3 more Turkish soldiers were killed in Idlib. Overnight on February 28, a series of airstrikes hit a convoy and positions of Turkish forces near al-Bara killing at least 30 Turkish soldiers and injuring at least 30 others. Commenting on the situation, the Russian side emphasized that Turkish personnel were embedded with ‘terrorists’.

It should be noted that the Turkish gains in eastern Idlib took place amid the Syrian Army’s rapid advance to the south. In the period from February 23 to February 28, government troops have taken control of over 30 villages and towns, including Kafr Nabel and deployed within striking distance from al-Barah, the last large militant stronghold on the way to the M4 highway. Turkish-led forces demonstrated no real resistance in the area because they threw most of their manpower and equipment towards Saraqib.

Technically, the Syrian military liberated a much larger area than it lost during the week. However, the loss of Saraqib is a painful strategic setback that undermines the Syrian Army control over the M4-M5 crossroad and limits its maneuverability along the frontline area in eastern Idlib.

Furthermore, the threat of a new larger war in the region is increasing. The Erdogan government demonstrates that it is an active and consistent supporter of al-Qaeda and is ready to pay in blood to protect Turkish-backed terrorists in Idlib and consolidate its influence over Syrian sovereign territory in which it had invaded.

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Syrian Troops Demine 15% of Maarat Al-Numan, Israeli Bombs Found in Idlib

Syrian Army Idlib

February 12, 2020

Source

Syrian army troops cleared roughly 15 percent of the Maarat Al-Numan city of mines, as it was recaptured from militants in the northwestern Idlib province earlier this week, Zein al-Abedin, the deputy commander of the military unit specializing in bomb disposal, said on Wednesday.

“Our commanders sent us here soon after the city was liberated. We work here for the second day, we check every house and every street. We continue our work”, al-Abedin told reporters, adding that the unit aimed to fully clear the city within one month.

The commander added that 75 explosive devices were found in the city, including bombs of Turkish and Israeli origin.

The Syrian armed forces captured Maarat Al-Numan earlier this week during a counteroffensive against militants in Idlib – the last stronghold of terrorists in the country.

The Syrian government has strongly condemned Turkey’s deployment of more military reinforcements to militant-held areas in the country’s embattled northern provinces of Idlib and Aleppo, emphasizing that such actions will fail to save terrorist groups that are targeting civilians in the war-ravaged Arab country.

“The Turkish regime continues its aggression against the sovereignty and integrity of Syrian lands through further deployment of forces to Idlib and its countryside as well as Aleppo countryside, targeting populated areas and some military points in a bid to save its proxies from terror outfits who have been defeated in the wake of Syrian army advances,” an unnamed official source at the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates told Syria’s official news agency SANA on Tuesday.

The source added that the Damascus government categorically rejects any Turkish military presence on the Syrian territory as it constitutes a flagrant violation of international law, a blatant aggression on the Syrian sovereignty, contradicts the terms of Astana and Sochi agreements regarding the de-escalation zone in Idlib, and Turkey’s persistence to ignore its obligations and act out of law.

The diplomat then called on the international community to take necessary steps to stop Turkey’s hostile behavior and its unlimited support for terrorism in Syria and Libya.

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Erdogan Urges Russia to ‘Assume Obligations’ in Idlib, Says Crimea Annexation ‘Illegal’

 February 3, 2020

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Monday for Russia to honor its pledges under a 2018 agreement after five Turkish soldiers were killed in shelling by Syrian government forces in northwestern Syria.

“I hope that everyone will assume their obligations under the Astana and Sochi agreements,” Erdogan told a news conference in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, in an implicit reference to Russia.

Syrian forces killed five Turkish soldiers and three civilians in shelling in Idlib, the last opposition bastion in northwestern Syria, early on Monday, according to Erdogan.

“It cannot continue like this and a response has been given,” Erdogan said. “We will make them pay the necessary price and will continue to do so.”

Crimea Annexation ‘Illegal’

He was speaking on a visit to Ukraine, where he also reiterated his opposition to the “illegal” Russian annexation of Crimea.

Turkey does not recognize Russia’s ‘illegal’ annexation of Crimea, Erdogan told the joint news conference with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.

The Turkish president expressed Ankara’s “ongoing support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” as quoted by Anadolu news agency.

Last week, Erdogan accused Moscow of “not honoring” agreements made with Ankara in Idlib, where Russian and Syrian forces have stepped up an offensive in recent weeks.

As part of the Sochi deal, Turkey set up 12 observation posts, one of which was surrounded by Syrian government forces in December.

Erdogan said Turkey had been ‘too patient’ in Idlib.

Turkey, which already hosts more than 3.7 million Syrians, fears a further influx of refugees fleeing violence in Idlib.

Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke by phone with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, and the two sides agreed to “look in detail” at the situation in Idlib, according to the Russian foreign ministry.

Source: AFP and Anadolu

Russia Challenges Turkish Narrative on Idlib Fire Exchange

February 3, 2020

Confusion reigns over what has happened in the past few hours between the Turkish army and the Syrian government forces in Syria’s Idlib province, where the military campaign against Takfiri terrorists continues.

AFP news agency cited Turkish media as saying that Turkey raided Syrian Army positions in Idlib Monday, in response to the Syrian fire that claimed lives of Turkish soldiers.

Five Turkish soldiers and a civilian attached to the army were killed on Monday by Syrian forces’ shelling in the northwestern province.

“Our F-16 aircraft and artillery are currently bombing targets defined by our intelligence services” in response to the Syrian shelling, said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a press conference in Istanbul.

Meanwhile, reports on the number of casualties among the ranks of the Syrian Army were conflicting. AFP reported that 30 to 35 Syrian soldiers were killed, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the number at 13.

However, the Russian Defense denied there have been Turkish air raids against Syrian Army positions, assuring that Turkish planes have not violated Syrian airspace over IdlIb province which is under control Russian forces.

This narrative is close to that of SANA news agency which reported that there was sporadic fire between the Syrian and the Turkish sides, but denied there were casualties among the ranks of the Syrian Army.

The exchange of fire comes as the Syrian Army has intensified for several weeks their offensive in this province and in the western regions of the province of Aleppo, to clear the area of Nusra Front terrorists.

After having liberated the key town of Maarat al-Noaman, then that of Khan Touman, the Syrian Army is now advancing towards Saraqeb.

Source: Agencies

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SAA Inches towards Saraqib; Cleans Towns in Aleppo

SAA Syrian Arab Army - Aleppo - Idlib - Hama

January 30, 2020 Arabi Souri

The Syrian Arab Army is inching towards Saraqib, another city on the Aleppo – Damascus M5 artery after cleaning the strategic city and NATO terrorists’ bastion of Maarat Numan.

While the terrorists commanded by NATO ‘strategists’ resorted to a technique of opening a number of fronts including bombing residential neighborhoods in Aleppo to scatter the SAA’s focus and strength, they were not expecting that the Syrian Arab Army had similar plans and opened stronger and heavier fronts for them forcing them to retreat and regroup while they were losing their reinforced fortifications.

The work of years of fortification and barricading by the terrorists fell in front of the advancing of the masters of the battlefields the SAA units in a matter of days and is now a few kilometers from Saraqib.

This report by the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen news channel is from Khan Touman, the latest town the SAA cleaned from NATO forces and NATO terrorists:Videl also available on BitChute

Transcript of the English translation of the video report:

Six days were enough to bring back Khan Touman in the southern Aleppo countryside to the Syrian Arab Army, Tilal Maher, Ma’rata, ‘Mahrouqat’ and Jerf Al-Sakhr, in addition to the Khan Touman warehouses, formed fire control of the town and brought it down.

SAA Soldier: In the past two days, we have advanced on the axis of the Khan Touman warehouses and Khan Touman Mechanics site, we were able to establish a strong and large military base, while destroying the most important and dangerous fortifications of the militants.

The Syrian Arab Army advance in the Rashidin 5th District and the Association of Journalists tightened the noose on Jabhat al-Nusra militants in the Rashidin 4th and led to the siege of the Turkish point in the south.

Syrian progress from the west and east of Aleppo-Damascus international highways simultaneously confused the militants’ calculations in the area and exhausted their defenses, which collapsed in the face of the weight of concentrated army strikes and attacks.

SAA Soldier: The strategy of this region for the mechanics site, the bulgur plant and the hill of Ma’rata tends to support the work of the army, which is advancing by Rashidin, this area is overlooking Khan Touman and we have been able to control it with fire control which is assisting the army to enter it from the side of Ma’rat al-Numan to open the Aleppo International Road.

The strategy of engaging by fire governs the reality of Aleppo fronts, the countryside and the city, the circumvention and incursions carried out by the Syrian Army forces contributed to a breach on the southern front and gave a strong impetus to the liberation of the entire southern and western countryside of Aleppo, thus reopening and securing the road From Aleppo to Ma’rat al-Numan in Idlib countryside and from there to Hama, Homs, and Damascus.

End of the transcript.

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