On March 28, the Turkish military conducted another patrol on the strategic M4 highway in the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
“The Turkish patrol started on Saturday afternoon from the village of Tarnaba, west of Saraqib, and reached the area of Mzibin on the M4 highway,” the monitoring group said in a report.
Turkey committed to secure the M4 highway in the framework of the agreement with Russia on Greater Idlib. However, the agreement, that was reached on March 5, is yet to be implemented by Ankara.
This was the 9th such Turkish patrol on the M4 this month. The strategic highway links the port of Lattakia with Aleppo city, Syria’s industrial hub.
Turkish and Russian forces made two attempts to conduct joint patrols on the highway this month. Both attempts were foiled by protesters and radical militants who blocked the highway and threatened to target Russian troops.
As for now, the M4 highway is still blocked. This could force the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) to launch a fresh operation in Greater Idlib. Turkey, which has been deploying more troops in the region for weeks now, is clearly preparing for such a confrontation.