On August 4, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) targeted an excavator of the Turkish military that was building fortifications near the town Afes in the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib with an anti-tank guided missile.
According to Syrian pro-opposition news sources, the missile strike destroyed the excavator. However, it did not cause any casualties.
The Turkish military engineering vehicle may have targeted because there were militants nearby, or because it was building fortifications for the militants.
In January, the Turkish military established position inside Afes. Dozens of troops as well as several tanks and armored personnel carriers were deployed at the position. Afes is located 2,5 kilometers to the north of the M4 highway, which links the industrial city of Aleppo with the port Lattakia, and some 3 kilometers to the west of the M5 highway that links Aleppo with the capita, Damascus.
The position in Afes is only one of dozens of Turkish military positions which are spread across Greater Idlib. Despite the Turkish military’s presence, the region is ruled by al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).
Greater Idlib is under a ceasefire that was brokered by Russia and Turkey more than two years ago. However, the situation in the region remains tense. Just a day earlier, four militants of HTS were killed and eight others were wounded when their vehicle was targeted by pro-government fighters. The attack was a response to a recent violation of the ceasefire.
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