Simmering confrontations northwestern Syria over 24 hours
As a response to the killing of five Turkish soldiers in an attack on an observation post in Taftanaz by the Syrian Armed Forces, the Turkish Defense Ministry declared hitting 115 Syrian targets and “neutralizing” 101 members of the Syrian Armed Forces. The losses also include three tanks, two sites, and a fighter jet.
The Turkish Defense Ministry had announced earlier that Syrian forces retreated from Nayrab and that it has downed a Syrian fighter jet in the town, as reported by Russia Today.
Sputnik reported that Turkey-backed militant groups in Idlib, including Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Ajnad al-Kavkaz, and Turkistan Islamic Party, are attacking sites of the Syrian Armed Forces in Nayrab village western Saraqeb so as an exchange of missile strikes is ongoing.
Russian and Syrian fighter jets are launching raids against the militants sites. Sources told Sputnik that a Syrian fighter jet was downed in farms western Saraqib and that it was probably targeted by an air defense missile.
Syrian sources told Sky News Arabia that Turkey had ordered armed groups it backs to stop any assaults against the Syrian forces until Turkish-Russian consultations are over. The sources revealed that the Syrian Armed Forces had simultaneously aborted a Turkish attempt to advance towards the western section of Saraqib they captured last week.
The Russian Foreign Ministry stated on Thursday that coordination was underway with “Iranian and Turkish partners to achieve security and stability in Idlib,” as reported by Russia Today.
A Turkish diplomatic source told Monte Carlo Al Doualiyah that Turkish-Russian talks held on Saturday and Tuesday to reach a pacification have failed. A Russian delegation had arrived in Ankara earlier this week for that purpose.
The Russian Ministry of Defense revealed that militants attacks in the province’s de-escalation zone recorded more than 1,000 in the last two weeks of January, and that the number of casualties among Syrian Armed Forces and civilians reached hundreds. That is in addition to the murder of Russian and Turkish military experts.
On another front, the Syrian Armed Forces took over a large section southern Aleppo and the crossroad of highways connecting the governorate with Hama and Idlib. The areas restored by the Syrian forces are Rashdin 4, Aleppo Wood, and Gameat Al Sahafeyin after battles with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Turkistan Islamic Party, and others.
CAIRO - 4 February 2020: The Syrian Armed Forces continue to achieve advances northwestern Syria, particularly in Idlib province, amid militant attacks against gas facilities and engagements with Turkish troops. Armed groups in Syria rocket shelled on Tuesday morning oil facilities in Homs. The targeted utilities are Al-Rayyan Gas Station, a gas laboratory in the central zone; Ebla gas laboratory; and Homs refinery.
Developments on Monday, February 11
Reuters reported that an additional Turkish convoy encompassing 100 vehicles entered Idlib through Bab al Hawa crossing. Turkey formed force concentrations in Almastumah Military Camp in Idlib, the military residence area eastern the city, and others in Taftanaz Airport and around Saraqib in Idlib governorate.
After the death of five Turkish soldiers on Monday, the total number of Turkish troops neutralized in one week in Idlib recorded 13. The others were killed in an attack by the Syrian forces on Turkish troops who attempted to obstruct their advance on the road extending from Aleppo and Latakia.
In a similar context, the number of victims of an explosive car in Aleppo’s Efrein rose to eight while the number of injuries is seven. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that Turkey-backed militant groups had arrested 12 kurds in Efrein, including a woman and a member of the city’s municipal council. The place where they are held is still unknown.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) tweeted on Tuesday that around 700,000 civilians fled their homes northwestern Syria since December 1, and that their number surpassed 100,000 over the past week.
Northwest #Syria:— OCHA Syria (@OCHA_Syria) February 11, 2020
689,000+ civilians have fled their homes since 1 December.
Over 400,000 are children.
In one week, the number of displaced - many living in tents, shelters, or in the open - increased by over 100,000. #Idlib #Aleppo
For updates: https://t.co/eQxNkv0WPx pic.twitter.com/yW4eGPsP0C
Armed groups in idlib continue to launch drones in the direction of Khmeimim Air Base as two were detected by the defense system, the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria announced on Tuesday. The center had declared last week that the base defenses detected and obstructed drones that were launched from Idlib’s de-escalation area.
Below is a video aired by Extra News of the Syrian government forces strike against the Turkish observation post in Idlib’s Taftanaz.