On February 20 noon, the remaining militants in Greater Idlib launched a large-scale attack on Syrian Arab Army (SAA) positions in the region’s southern part with direct support from the Turkish military.
The attack, which is targeting the town of al-Nayrab near Saraqib city, is being carried out by al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and the National Front for Liberation (NFL).
The Turkish Armed Forces are reportedly providing the militants with fire support, using rocket launchers, howitzers and even battle tanks.
Syrian opposition activists released videos showing Turkish commandos units and battle tanks deploying around al-Nayrab a few hours ahead of the attack. It remains unclear if these troops are directly taking part in the offensive.
Opposition sources are claiming that most of al-Nayrab was captured by Turkish-backed militants. Meanwhile, pro-government sources are saying that the attack was repelled.
Warplanes of the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) and the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) are providing the SAA with close air support. Unverified reports claim that Turkish personnel were killed and that the Turkish Armed Forces lost some equipment.
The attack on al-Nayrab is the biggest Turkish-backed operation against the SAA in Greater Idlib, to this day. Over the last two weeks, several smaller attacks were carried out. All attacks ended with Turkish-backed militants sustaining heavy losses.