On July 25, a large explosion rocked the town of Eshtabraq in the northwestern Idlib countryside, according to the Syrian pro-opposition news agency SMART. Local sources revealed that the explosion occurred in a large ammo depot of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), which is located next to an observation post of the Turkish military in the town.
After the incident, several warplanes of the Turkish Air Force (TAF) flew over Eshtabraq, in what appears to be a mission to assess the damage caused by the explosion.
Some Syrian opposition activists claimed that the TIP’s ammo depot was targeted by warplanes of the Russian Aerospace Forces, while others said that explosion was a result of an accident or even sabotage.
Last week, the head of the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in Syria, Major General Alexei Tsygankov, revealed that the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which attacked Hmeimim airbase on several occasions, were launched from an area near Eshtabraq.
The explosion of the TIP’s ammo depot may be a response of Russia, especially that the foreign radical group is suspected of participating in the attacks on Hmeimim airbase.