Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently called the results of negotiations with Russia over Idlib as “unsatisfactory.” The Turkish leader hinted that Ankara’s military operation in the north-west of the Arab Republic is just a “matter of time”.
According to military sources, the Russian Forces have resumed intense strikes in the east of Idlib and the west of Aleppo. According to unconfirmed reports, Russia has deployed additional Su-24 bombers at the Khmeimim airbase.
According to sources, Russia carried out severe attacks against the positions of the militants of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and the pro-Turkish “ National Front for Liberation” along highway 60 (Aleppo-Idlib), in the area of Jisr al-Shugur (Idlib province), the villages of Tarmanin, Darat Izza and the city of Atarib.
The Syrian army did not conduct active offensive on February 18, but the directions of its missile and artillery attacks show that it is possible to continue the offensive west of Aleppo, the Military Observer portal notes.
According to the Insider, bombing by the Russian air force has shifted the balance against the Turkish army in their battle over the Idlib province. Until recently, Idlib provided some safety for millions of Syrians seeking refuge from the forces of Bashar Assad, who is being vehemently backed by Russia.
But in the past few days, Turkish troops — who had been providing some degree of stability in Idlib — were quickly surrounded or overrun by bombing and shelling from the Syrian army and its Russian “advisers.”
With pro-Syrian troops moving into the Idlib area, more than 832,000 refugees have moved north toward Turkey. The strife threatens to send over one million refugees into Turkey, which has already received over 3.5 million civilians since the Syrian civil war began in 2011.
Turkey needs the Idlib province to remain safe and secure for refugees to stay so they don’t venture out and move towards Turkey. Ankara has poured in hundreds of military vehicles and regular ground troops and engaged in repeated artillery exchanges with the Syrians, killing dozens of soldiers on both sides, to defend Idlib from the Syrian incursion.