Opposition supporters and radical militants continue to block the M4 highway, challenging the March 5 Russian-Turkish agreement on Greater Idlib.
On April 3, a large protest against the agreement took place on the highway. Hundreds of people, including militants displaced from southern Syria, attended the protest, ignoring all warnings of COVID-19.
Under the March 5 agreement, Turkey should reopen the M4 highway. Russian and Turkish forces should also conduct joint patrols along the highway. Neither of these terms have been fulfilled, so far.
Earlier this week, Turkey deployed building blocks and engineering equipment along the M4. Opposition sources claim that the Turkish military will be establishing a series of posts and barracks to secure the highway. However, this is yet to be confirmed.
The M4 is blocked in areas controlled by al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP). People couldn’t have protested on the highway without the blessing of these terrorist groups.
Turkey’s failure to reopen the M4 could force the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and is allies to carry out an operation to fulfil this term. This will likely result in a new confrontation with Turkish forces in Greater Idlib.