TURKISH STRATEGY IN NORTHERN SYRIA: MILITARY OPERATIONS, TURKISH-BACKED GROUPS AND IDLIB ISSUE | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


TURKISH STRATEGY IN NORTHERN SYRIA: MILITARY OPERATIONS, TURKISH-BACKED GROUPS AND IDLIB ISSUE

In order to understand Turkey’s approach toward the conflict in Syria, one first needs to explain the military situation there as of September 2018.

There are localized clashes between militant groups led by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in northern Latakia and southern Idlib. The Syrian Arab Air Force and the Russian Aerospace Forces are carrying out strikes on weapon depots, equipment and UAV workshops and key facilities belonging to militants in southern and southwestern Idlib.

These as well as deployment of additional SAA units at the contact line between the militant-held and government-held areas are described by pro-militant sources as clear sings of the upcoming SAA operation to defeat Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other al-Qaeda-like factions there.

In Suweida and Rif Dimashq, the SAA is still working to eliminate ISIS cells operating in the desert area. Separate ISIS attacks on the SAA and the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) happen time to time.

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