On December 23, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) foiled an attempt by radical militants to attack military positions around the towns of Mahardah and Tell Bazzam in the northern Hama countryside, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).
“Units of the army, stationed in Mahardah and Tell Bazzam, detected movements by terrorist groups of the al-Nusra Front [now known as Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS)] and its allies, they were trying to launch attacks on military positons,” the SANA’s reporter in Hama said adding: “they [militants] were targeted with machine guns and accurate hits were scored.”
Such violations of the Russian-Turkish demilitarized zone agreement have become a daily occurrence. However, Turkey is yet to implement its commitment and force the radical elements to disarm and withdraw from the zone, which covers the opposition-held areas around the northern governorate of Idlib.
On the other side, the Damascus government and Russia are responding to these violations in a very limited way. This policy could change if Turkey continues to ignore its commitments.