Early on May 1, several missiles launched from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights hit positions of the Syrian Army near Tell Ahmar and Quneitra city. The strike reportedly led to no casualties among Syrian personnel, but destroyed several pieces of military equipment.

This was the second Israeli strike on Syria in less than a week. On April 27, Israeli airstrikes hit the countryside of Damascus, including the al-Mazzeh Airport. Pro-Israeli sources claim that underground facilities of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were the target.

Meanwhile, a new drama is developing in the militant-held part of Greater Idlib. After briefly clashing with the Turkish Army near Nayrab, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham found themselves in the center of a new scandal.

On April 30, the group’s fighters were confronted by supporters of other radical groups in the town of Maaret Elnaasan in western Aleppo. According to pro-opposition sources, the main reason of tensions is the decision of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham to open a crossing for commercial purposes to the government-held area. This initiative faced resistance among militant groups directly controlled by Turkey. The Turkish Army even tried to block a road towards Maaret Elnaasan. However, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham militants were able to suppress the protest and the crossing was opened. The further protests that continued on May 1 forced Hayat Tahrir al-Sham to close the crossing.

Earlier in April, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham tried to open a similar commercial crossing near Saraqib, but this attempt was also blocked by Turkish-led forces.

Representatives of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham claim that the opening of such crossings is vital to contain the developing economic crisis in the militant-held area. According to them, a large part of goods produced within the militant-held area, first of all food, is being sold in the government-controlled territory.

Various fees on commercial activities and contraband traffic are among key sources of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham budget, which has been facing difficulties amid the shirking funding from its foreign sponsors. On the other hand, the ability to fill own budget from independent sources of income allows the terrorist group to remain to a large degree independent from direct Turkish support. Thus, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is capable of remaining a relatively independent player and the most powerful militant group in the entire Greater Idlib.

At least 4 Syrian soldiers were killed and several others were injured in an ISIS attack on the army convoy near the T3 pumping station in the province of Homs. The terrorists used an improvised explosive device to strike the bus moving within the convoy and then shelled it with machine guns.

The attack likely came in response to the intensified security efforts of the army in the Homs-Deir Ezzor desert. Just recently, government troops eliminated several ISIS militants and captured 2 vehicles belonging to the terrorist group.


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Early on April 27, the Israeli Air Force carried out a series of airstrikes on alleged Iranian targets in the countryside of Damascus. As always, pro-Israeli sources claimed that the missile attack hit and destroyed weapon depots and HQs of Hezbollah and Iranian forces. Syrian state media reported that 3 civilians were killed and 4 others wounded in the villages of Hujaira and Adliya as a result of the strike.

Tensions between Idlib militants and their Turkish sponsors and protectors have been growing since the last weekend.

On April 26, the Turkish Army clashed with Idlib radicals near their camp blocking the M4 highway near the town of Nayrab. At least 7 people were killed or injured, when Turkish forces opened fire at protesters blocking their column in the area.

According to pro-militant sources, Turkish troops tried to remove the protest camp from the area in order to expand the chunk of the highway used for joint patrols with the Russian Military Police. Another reason is the hostile posture of Idlib protesters towards Turkish troops deployed in the de-escalation area. Earlier in April, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham militants deployed at the highway and recorded a video threatening to behead Turkish soldiers. Ankara likely opted to give a lesson to its restive proxies.

However, the situation went out of control.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham militants shelled a Turkish observation post south of Nayrab with mortars injuring a Turkish soldier. He was evacuated by military helicopters to Turkey. The clashes continued with at least two drone strikes on Hayat Tahrir al-Sham positions near the village of San. Two militants were killed in the attack.

In response to Turkish actions, militants shelled Turkish MRAPs moving near Nayrab with heavy machine guns and reportedly launched anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) at a bulldozer and a battle tank of the Turkish Army. The impact of the ATGM strikes remains unclear.

These clashes became a visual demonstration that Idlib terrorists remain terrorists and are not ready to abandon their radical ideology and make concessions needed to propel Turkish interests. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other al-Qaeda-linked groups receive funding, weapons and even direct military support, but put their own goals and plans first. So, all the while Turkey is pouring money and resources into the al-Qaeda-infested black hole.

The lack of loyalty among Idlib groups forces Turkey to extensively use its own troops to keep at least a semblance of control over the situation. Since the establishment of the new ceasefire regime in Idlib on March 5, the Turkish military has reportedly sent 2,810 military and logistical vehicles to the region. Pro-militant sources claim that approximately 10,000 Turkish troops are deployed in Greater Idlib.

The Syrian Army and security forces are conducting an extensive security operation in the province of al-Suwayda.

Government forces neutralized a criminal gang in the town of Salkhad seizing a large number of fire arms, ammunition, hand grenades and improvised explosive devices. Despite this, the gang leader, Nawras al-Eid, was able to flee. Pro-government sources claim that some local armed groups posing as the local self-defense forces are in fact criminal organizations.

The relative stabilization of the situation in southern and central Syria allowed the Damascus government to allocate additional resources to combat this organized crime. Nonetheless, if large-scale military hostilities once again resume in western or northeastern Syria, organized crime will have another chance to lift up its head in the relatively calm areas.

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Protesters pelt Turkish soldiers with rocks in Idlib as they clear M-4 Highway

By News Desk -2020-04-26

Turkish army soldiers stand guard as Kurdish people wait in a hope to enter Cizre, a town subject to a curfew as part of a controversial operation against Kurdish rebels, on March 22, 2016 in Mardin, for Newroz celebration. Nowruz, the Farsi-language word for ‘New Year’, is an ancient Persian festival, celebrated on the first day of spring, March 21, in Central Asian republics, Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan and Iran. / AFP PHOTO / ILYAS AKENGIN

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:00 P.M.) – The Turkish Army dispersed a protest along the M-4 Highway (Aleppo-Latakia Highway) on Sunday after the participants refused to remove their barriers along the road.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the protest was held at the town of Al-Karamah, which is located in the eastern countryside of Idlib.

“Syrian Observatory activists have confirmed that widespread discontent is prevailing in the area where ‘Al-Karamah sit-in’ is held in the eastern countryside of Idlib on Aleppo-Latakia international highway (M4),” the SOHR report said.

The report continued that the Turkish Army removed soil barriers along the M-4 Highway near the town of Al-Nayrab, while also firing gas shells to disperse the protesters who were pelting them with rocks.

“Later, Turkish forces stepped up the use of violence and started live-fire shooting targeting the area where the sit-in was held, leaving two unidentified persons dead. It is not known yet if the victims are civilians or fighters, since there is a nearby military post,” they added.

Earlier this month, the Turkish Army broke up a similar protest in the town of Al-Nayrab; this came after some members of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) fired gunshots at the Turkish military’s soldiers.


Military Situation In Syria On April 26, 2020 (Map Update)

A brief overview of the recent developments in Syria:

Turkish Forces Clash With Their Own Proxies On M4 Highway In Southern Idlib

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On April 13, the Turkish Army and its proxies from the so-called Free Syrian Police clashed with supporters of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other radical Idlib groups east of the town of Nayrab on the M4 highway.

According to sources loyal to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham a few hundred members of the Free Syrian Police and a few dozen Turkish troops were involved in the operation. After a series of clashes with radicals, they removed an improvised protest camp set up east of Nayrab. At some moment, Turkish forces even appeared to be engaged in a firefight with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham militants, but the situation quickly de-escalated and the protest camp blocking the highway re-appeared a few km to the west of its previous location.

Pro-Turkish media immediately branded the April 13 developments as a heroic attempt to de-block the M4 highway and finally launch joint Russian-Turkish patrols along the entire pre-agreed to M4 security zone. This explanation is far from reality. The de-escalation deal remains far from any kind of real implementation. The area of the supposed security zone is still in the hands of al-Qaeda-linked militants.

Ankara had no opportunity to ignore the radicals’ nest east of Nayrab because it could put an end to even the current ‘limited’ format of the joint Russian-Turkish patrols. All 3 previous joint patrols took place in the limited area between Saraqib and Nayrab because of security reasons. If the camp east of Nayrab was not removed, even such patrols would be no longer possible.

However, even this limited move caused a new wave of tensions between Turkish-controlled armed groups and their more independent allies. A firefight erupted between members of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and Turkish proxies from Faylaq Sham near the village of Msibin on the M4 highway.

Earlier, tensions between members of Turkey’s Syrian National Army and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham-led forces were reported north of Daraat Izzah in western Aleppo.

Any Turkish attempts to de-block the M4 highway west of Nayrab will likely lead to a larger escalation in the area and may lead to more attacks on Turkish forces in Greater Idlib. The previous two IED attacks happened just after joint Turkish-Russian patrols west of Saraqib. The situation in Greater Idlib is in stalemate.

On the one hand, Ankara cannot continue ignoring attempts of groups that it funds to undermine its own attempts to implement the de-escalation deal with Russia at least formally. On the other hand, it does not want to use force to neutralize radicals in southern Idlib because the very same militants are the core of its influence in this part of Syria.

An explosion erupted on a natural gas pipeline in the area of al-Shadadi in the province of al-Hasakah. The incident happened just near the al-Jisba oil field controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the US-led coalition. According to Kurdish sources, it remains unclear what group was behind the attack. Nonetheless, it is no secret that ISIS cells have recently increased their activities within the SDF-held area on the eastern bank of the Euphrates.

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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!

فيديوات متعلقة

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South Front

On February 24 morning, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other Idlib groups supported by the Turkish Army launched a new attempt to capture the village of Nayrab from the Syrian Army. Turkish-backed rebels bedecked with ISIS insignias once again reached the vicinity of the village, but were forced to retreat under strikes from the Syrian Army and the Russian Aerospace Forces. Pro-Turkish sources complained that ‘regime troops’ are using mines, road blocks, fortifications and even trenches to protect their positions. The devilry of the Assad regime has no bounds.

In the evening, Turkish-led forces carried out a second attack on Nayrab entering its eastern part and engaging army troops in a series of clashes. The fighting in the area continued overnight and by February 25 Idlib groups have established control of at least a half of the town. Pro-Turkish sources claim that entire Nayrab is in the hands of Turkish-led forces. Pro-government sources say that the  lashes are ongoing.

The attack on Nayrab took place amid the ongoing Syrian Army advance in southern Idlib, south of the M4 highway. Government forces have cleared over a dozen of settlements from Turkish-led forces since the resumption of the offensive in the area on February 23. In the course of this effort, Syrian soldiers captured 3 vehicles and eliminated up to 10 militants. The advance is ongoing.

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On the same day reports appeared that 13 Turkish soldiers were killed in airstrikes in the area of the Syrian Army operation in southern Idlib. According to pro-Turkish sources and Russian media, the incident happened somewhere near the villages of Kafr Nabl, Bara and Kansafra. According to Turkish authorities, 21 Turkish service member had died in the Greater Idlib operation so far. If the February 24 incident is confirmed, the number of casualties of Turkish forces in their Idlib adventurism will overcome 30.

The developments on the ground demonstrate that even with a direct Turkish involvement Idlib groups have not enough resources to oppose the Syrian Army advance across the region. So, while they were concentrating their efforts on Nayrab, their defense collapsed on another chunk of the frontline.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan confirmed his intention to meet with the leaders of Russia, France and Germany, on March 5 in Istanbul to discuss the situation in Idlib. This strange format, excluding Iran, another backer of the Damascus government and key player in the conflict, is likely seen by the Turkish leadership as a useful tool to make a ‘collective effort’ to pressure Russia over its strong support to the Syrian Army actions against terrorists. It also reveals that despite the recent decline of the EU involvement in the conflict, key EU states remain at least diplomatic supporters of terrorist factions operating in the country. At the same time, the initiative of the meeting itself demonstrates that Turkey is not so determined to turn its military threats against Syria into reality as it wants to demonstrate.

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The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaks at Chatham House in central London, Britain May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

After announcing a devastating defeat (an imaginary one) to forces of the ‘bloody Assad regime’ in Syria’s Idlib, the Turkish leadership turned its gaze towards the conflict in Libya.

South Front

In Libya, Turkey supports the Government of National Accord (GNA), which controls the city of Tripoli and a small chunk of the territory along the coast of Libya. In order to rescue the crumbling defense of the GNA under pressure of the Libyan National Army that controls most of the country, Ankara sent thousands of military equipment pieces, thousands of Syrian militants, and a number of own troops to Tripoli.

As in Syria case, Turkish topl leaders repeatedly vowed to crush all its ‘enemies’ in a powerful and fast blow. Nonetheelss, the GNA remains in the critical situation despite all the Turkish efforts.

In his recent comments on the situation, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that “several Turkish heroes” died in Libya. However, he claimed, up to a hundred of Libyan National Army “mercenaries” were killed.

“We are (in Libya) with our valiant soldiers and our Syrian National Army (a coalition of Turkish-backed militants) units against the illegitimate, mercenary and legionnaire Haftar,” the Turkish president said.

As always claims about hundreds of killed enemies came without any video or photo confirmation. The same approach is employed by the Turkish Defense Ministry towards Syria. Ankara already killed and injured thousands of ‘Assad troops’ in its twitter attacks. The only problem is that did not help to capture it a single village.

SF kindly reminds Turkey how real strikes that cause casualties look like. The video below shows the fate suffered by Turkish fores in their failed attack on the Syrian Army in Nayrab on February 20.



South Front

On February 20, the 2nd Army of NATO and its proxy forces once again failed to capture the village of Nayrab, eastern Idlib, from the Syrian Army. The Turkish attack involved 2 dozens of military equipment pieces, including battle tanks and artillery, over 200 Turkish soldiers and approximately 300 members of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and other Turkish-backed groups.

The Turkish attack started at approximately 13:00 local time under jeers of mainstream media regarding the nearing collapse of the Syrian defense and the Assad government under powerful strikes of the Turkish Army. By 14:00 local time, some Turkish supporters in twitter already concurred Aleppo city and were preparing to advance on Damascus.

However, by 17:00 it appeared that the attack died out despite the massive rocket and artillery strikes and the participation of Turkish troops united their efforts against the Syrians with al-Qaeda. Turkish-led forces, supposedly Turkish troops, even launched a MANPAD at a Russian Su-24 warplane that came to provide a close-air-support to Syrian troops. After this, the Turkish Defense Ministry reported that 2 Turkish soldiers were killed and 5 others were injured in an airstrike.

In keeping with the best traditions, the Turkish Defense Ministry a victorious statement claiming that 50 ‘Assad troops’ were killed, 2 Syrian battle tanks, 2 armoured vehicles, 2 armed pickups and a howitzer were destroyed. However, all what the Turkish side was able to demonstrate to confirm these claims were a few Hayat Tahrir al-Sham selfies from the vicinity of Nayrab. Turkish state media immediately declared that Turkish forces did not want to capture the village and just sent a message to the oppressive Assad regime.

After this, the mighty Turkish Army requested Patriots systems from the United States in order to deter the Assad aggression in Idlib. There are two explanations:

  • Ankara apparently missed news that Patriots deployed at in Saudi Arabia had repeatedly failed to protect its military infrastructure from missile and drone strikes by the Yemeni Houthis.
  • The Erdogan government would like to see troops of the United States in Idlib alongside their Turkish and al-Qaeda counterparts.

The Russian side officially confirmed that its warplanes supported the Syrian Army striking targets in Idlib. According  to it, a battle tank, 6 armoured vehicles and 5 armed pickups were destroyed. Moscow says that Turkish artillery strikes injured 4 Syrian soldiers.

February is coming to its end and the Turkish ultimatum demanding the Syrians to withdraw from the liberated areas is expiring. The inability of Turkish forces to recapture even a single village from the Syrian Army already became a powerful blow to the public image of the Erdogan government. Therefore, it’s likely that the Turkish Army will continue their attacks in Idlib paying with own blood for neo-ottoman dreams of Erdogan and its inner circle.

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