On February 1, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) besieged a third observation post of the Turkish military in the southern part of Greater Idlib.
According to several sources, army troops besieged the post, which is located 7 km to the south of the city of Ma`arat al-Nu`man, after capturing the nearby towns of Ma’ar Hattat and Armanayya.
By besieging the post, the army has secured a long strip of the strategic M5 highway, stretching between the cities of Khan Shaykhun and Ma`arat al-Nu`man.
Last August, the SAA besieged the first observation post, located near Murak in northern Hama, following a successful military operation. Three months later, a second post near the town of al-Surman in southeastern Idlib was besieged by the army.
Turkey is yet to explain why it is keeping its observation posts behind the SAA’s lines. Ankara may hope that this measure could give it some sort of influence in these areas.