Several senior commanders of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) have inspected the frontlines with the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in northwestern Hama.
The terrorist group released photos of the visit on July 2. The photos didn’t reveal faces of the commanders, who may have been Abu Rida al-Turkistani and Ibrahim Mansour. The two men are believed to be the top commanders of the group.
The TIP’s commanders visited the al-Gab Plains, which is a part the demilitarized zone around Idlib. A Turkish military observation post is located near the town of Shir Mughar in the heart of the region.
According to opposition sources, the TIP has more than 3,000 Uyghur fighters. These terrorists are occupying many settlements in northern Lattakia and northwestern Idlib, including the strategic city of Jisr al-Shughur.
Last month, Syria’s Foreign Minister revealed that Damascus had asked Beijing for military, economic and even cultural support to counter the growing threat of the TIP.
The presence of these terrorists within Idlib’s demilitarized zone and the freedom of movement they are enjoying there, despite Turkish military presence, are some of the reasons that led to the failure of the de-escalation agreement, reached last September.