Militants occupying the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib continue to violate the ceasefire agreement brokered by Russia and Turkey more than a year ago.
On December 4, militants of al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the de-facto ruler of the region, targeted a position of the al-Quds Brigade located near the town of al-Sa’diyah in the western Aleppo countryside with a US-made TOW anti-tank guided missile. The pro-government Palestinian group acknowledged that one of its fighters was killed in the missile strike.
#هيئة_تحرير_الشام تستهدف بصاروخ “م.د” تجمعا لميليشيات النظام المجرم على محور قرية السعدية بريف #حلب الغربي وتحقق إصابة مباشرة pic.twitter.com/H7Wk9cb3KV
— قتادة صاعقة (@omarii49) December 5, 2021
Two Syrian soldiers were reportedly killed on Greater Idlib frontlines on the same day. The exact circumstances of their death remain unclear.
On December 5, al-Qaeda-affiliated Ansar al-Tawhid, a close ally of HTS, targeted a position of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) located near the town of Dara al-Kabira in the southern countryside of Idlib with rocket-propelled munitions. The position was completed destroyed as a result of the attack. Nevertheless, no casualties were reported.
قبل قليل تم استهداف مقر لعصابات الاسد في قرية الدار الكبيرة جنوب ادلب بقذيفة صاروخية pic.twitter.com/UWprzuuH5X
— انس المعراوي (@anasanas84) December 5, 2021
These were not the only violations that took place on December 4 and 5. Several other sniper and indirect fire attacks were reported.
The Turkish military who maintains a large force in Greater Idlib, supposedly to monitor the ceasefire, has been doing nothing whatsoever to prevent further violations by HTS and its allies.
The SAA and its allies will likely respond to recent violations with limited strikes. This tactic has failed to deter HTS and its allies, so far. Still, a large-scale ground operation in the region seems unlikely for the time being as it would lead to a confrontation with the Turkish military.