On March 20 morning, Syrian opposition supporters and radical militants re-blocked the M4 highway in Greater Idlib, challenging the will of their closest ally, Turkey.
Local activists shared a video showing opposition supporters and militants gathering on the M4 to protest against the recent Russian-Turkish agreement on Greater Idlib. The protesters used bulldozers to establish several new barriers on the highway.
The protesters’ move pose a serious challenge to Turkey, whose military reopened the highway a day earlier. Turkish forces removed several barriers and deployed pre-made barracks along the highway.
Reopening the M4 highway, which links the coastal city of Lattakia with Aleppo, is the keystone of the Russian Turkish agreement reached on March 5. If Turkey fail to fulfill this term, the entire agreement will likely collapse.
Radical militants, who threatened any force that would move to reopen the highway, attacked a convoy of the Turkish military on March 19. The attack, which took place on the highway itself, claimed the lives of two Turkish soldiers.
Turkey is serious about reopening the highway. Nevertheless, Ankara’s influence over Greater Idlib militants, who have been receiving support from it for around nine years, appears to be too weak.