Russia doubles airstrikes on jihadist, Turkey prepares to fight Syrian Army
DAMASCUS, (BM) – The Russian Air Force continued its aerial campaign against the jihadist rebels in northwestern Hama this week, launching several strikes over the Al-Ghaab Plain region that is under militant control.
Led by a fleet from the Hmeimim Airbase, the Russian Air Force began the day by heavily targeting the jihadist rebels of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP), and Hurras Al-Deen group along the Hama-Idlib axis and as far as the Turkish border.
Russian warplanes were said to have primarily concentrated on the jihadist gathering points and trenches that were dug up for a future conflict with the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and their allies.
At the same time, the Turkish military continued their buildup inside the Idlib Governorate, as several reports surfaced of their forces entering northwestern Syria on Thursday from the Kafr Loussen crossing.
The Turkish authorities revealed earlier this week that they were building up their forces in the Idlib Governorate for a potential conflict with the Syrian Arab Army.
The Turkish authorities said they will not yield another inch to the Syrian Army and they will confront them if they attempt to seize anymore territory inside the Idlib Governorate and other areas.
In February, Turkey lost at least 62 troops killed in Syria, nearly 100 soldiers were wounded, dozens of Turkish armored vehicles were destroyed and more than ten drones, including drone, were shot down. Washington has repeatedly accused Moscow of involvement in the deaths of Turkish soldiers, Russia rejects these allegations.
In early March, the presidents of Russia and Turkey, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, concluded an agreement according to which a ceasefire came into force in the Idlib de-escalation zone.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad later said that if the US and Turkish military did not leave the country, Damascus would be able to use force.
The reason for the Russian-Turkish negotiations was a sharp aggravation of the situation in Idlib, where in January a large-scale offensive by the Syrian army against the positions of the armed opposition and terrorists began.
Government forces recaptured nearly half of the Idlib de-escalation zone and left behind a number of Turkish observation posts. After that, Ankara sharply increased its military contingent in the region and launched the operation “Spring Shield” to push the Syrian troops. Turkey is also supported by militants loyal to it.
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