On November 25, warplanes of the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out a series of airstrikes on the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib where a number of terrorist groups are present and active.
The airstrikes targeted militants’ positions in the outskirts of the towns of Qmenas and Sarmin in the southeastern Idlib countryside as well as near the towns of Mjdlya and Maarbalit in the southern countryside of the governorate.
All four towns are located near the M4 highway which links the port city of Lattakia with Aleppo city, the industrial hub of Syria.
غارات جوية تشنها طائرات الاحتلال الروسي على الاراضي الزراعية الواقعة بين بلدتي قميناس وسرمين في ريف ادلب . pic.twitter.com/Mmsyohpc9q
— ميلاد فضل/ milad fadel (@freeehsem) November 25, 2021
— zana khalil (@zanakhalil2) November 25, 2021
8 ضربات جوية لطيران الروسي تستهدف مواقع المسلحين بمحيط بلدتي مجدليا و معربليت شرقي إدلب و دير سنبل في جبل الزاوية
قصف مدفعي يستهدف بلدة كفرنوران غربي حلب
عدد من طائرات الاستطلاع بالسماء pic.twitter.com/vZxFe4dVAZ
— ملك السلطنه (@jamlyyyyy_) November 15, 2021
— OGN عربى (@OGNArabic) August 27, 2021
3 غارات جوية من قبل الحربي الروسي تستهدف مواقع المسلحين في بلدات سان شرقي إدلب و سرجة في جبل الزاوية ومحيط بلدة سرمين
ومازال الطيران في الأجواء pic.twitter.com/1fDDXt6Lzx
— ملك السلطنه (@jamlyyyyy_) November 25, 2021
The Russian airstrikes were likely a response to recent violations of the ceasefire in Greater Idlib which was brokered by Russia and Turkey on 5 March 2020. Al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and its allies were behind these violations.
Under the March 5 agreement, the M4 highway was supposed to be reopened. However, HTS and its allies are still present on a long section of the highway in Greater Idlib. Turkey, who maintains a large force in the region, has been doing nothing to implement the agreement.
Earlier this year, several reports talked about a near operation by the Syrian Arab Army and its allies to reinforce the ceasefire and reopen the M4 highway. Nevertheless, non of these reports materialized.
An operation in Greater Idlib seems unlikely, at least currently, as it may lead to a dangerous confrontation with Turkish forces in the region.