The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) had put several of its units, including the elite 25the Special Forces Division “Tiger Forces”, in offensive positions around the northwestern region of Greater Idlib, a number of pro-governmental activists reported on July 23.
The activists, some of whom are known to be close to the 25th Special Forces Division, claimed that the army will soon launch a new large-scale ground operation against the remaining terrorists in Greater Idlib.
Opposition sources confirmed that the SAA was accumulating forces for a large attack in southern Idlib. According to the sources, the militants in the region were placed on high-alert.
In the last battle, the SAA liberated a large part of Greater Idlib. The M5 highway, which links Aleppo and Damascus, was also secured.
Russia and Turkey reached an agreement to stabilize Greater Idlib on March 5. Ankara reopened the Lattakia-Aleppo highway, known as the M4, under the agreement. However, terrorist groups controlling the region were not neutralized by Turkish forces.
Over the past few months, the terrorists violated the ceasefire agreement many times. SAA positions around Greater Idlib were targeted on a regular basis. Furthermore, a number of drone attacks were launched from the region at the Russian Hmeimim Air Base on the Syrian coast.
Turkey maintains a large military presence in Greater Idlib. The Turkish military deployed thousands of troops to the region in recent months. Air-defense systems were also deployed there.
Turkish military presence in Greater Idlib will hinder any new operation by the SAA and its allies. A new confrontation with Turkish forces will be inevitable.