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JULY 2020

Syrian-Turkish Conflict In Greater Idlib: Results Of February 24-28, 2020

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Syrian-Turkish Conflict In Greater Idlib: Results Of February 24-28, 2020

The week of February 24th became for the Turkish government and its al-Qaeda-linked proxies a silver of light in the realm of Assad darkness. Since December 19th, 2019, Syrian government forces have taken control of approximately 2,400km2 in the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo. In the course of the operation, they have repelled several Turkish-led counter-attacks and dealt several painful blows to the Turkish Army. However, towards the end of February 2020, Turkish military efforts finally produced results, and they were important ones.

By the start of the week, the Syrian Army had halted offensive actions east of Idlib city and redeployed most of its well-trained and motivated units from there to the southern part of the province. Troops and equipment of the 25th Special Forces Division and the 4th Armoured Division joined a ground operation to cut off the front salient south of the M4 highway. This weakened the army defense near Saraqib and Turkish-led forces immediately exploited this.

On February 24, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Turkistan Islamic Party, the National Front for Liberation and other al-Qaeda-linked groups directly supported by Turkish artillery, unmanned aerial vehicles and special forces launched an attack on Nayrab. They employed over a dozen battle tanks and Turkish-supplied armoured vehicles. Turkish-led forces entered Nayrab on the same day and consolidated control over the town on February 25. Two battle tanks, four infantry fighting vehicles, a Shilka self-propelled gun, a GAZ truck, a 23mm gun mounted on a truck, two bulldozers and five Konkurs anti-tank guided missiles were seized. On the same day, the Syrian Army shot down a Turkish TAI Anka unmanned combat aerial vehicle.

Then, Turkish-led forces developed their advance towards Saraqib capturing the villages of Salihiya, Afis and entering the town of Saraqib itself. By the morning of February 27, they had gained full control over Saraqib and continued their advance. The M5 highway, which Damascus had officially declared reopened, was once again cut off. In the course of this attack, Turkish-led forces captured a T-90 battle tank, a T-72 tank and several other vehicles. Turkish forces also employed at least 2 MANPADs against warplanes of the Syrian Air Force bombing targets east of Saraqib but failed to down any aircraft.

The fall of Saraqib demonstrated disorganization, an apparent lack of morale and the failure of the fortification efforts by Syrian troops remaining in the area. Pro-government sources also blamed Russia for the lack of close air support during the fighting. At the same time, pro-militant sources reported dozens of Russian airstrikes on their positions. The villages of Dadikh, Jawbas and Kafr Battikh fell into the hands of Turkish-led forces after Saraqib. Al-Qaeda propaganda claims that the goal of the Turkish-led push is to retake Maarat al-Numan. Several counter-attacks conducted by Syrian troops, including the most recent on the evening of February 27, resulted in no gains.

It’s unlikely that the situation can be turned to favor of the Syrians without additional reinforcements from the 25th Special Forces Division and other battle-hardened units. Right now, the Syrian military is redeploying its elite units to the area and preparing for a large counter-attack.

Pro-Turkish sources provide numerous and often conflicting reports on casualties among Syrian forces. If one sums up the claims by the Turkish Defense Ministry on Twitter, one will find that about 500 Syrian troops were allegedly killed or injured in Turkish-led operations. According to other pro-al-Qaeda sources, over 100 Syrian troops were killed in Saraqib alone. The Syrian side does not release such claims, however developments on the ground speak for themselves. On February 26, the Turkish Defense Ministry said that 2 Turkish soldiers were killed and 2 others were injured in a Syrian airstrike. On February 27, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that 3 more Turkish soldiers were killed in Idlib. Overnight on February 28, a series of airstrikes hit a convoy and positions of Turkish forces near al-Bara killing at least 30 Turkish soldiers and injuring at least 30 others. Commenting on the situation, the Russian side emphasized that Turkish personnel were embedded with ‘terrorists’.

It should be noted that the Turkish gains in eastern Idlib took place amid the Syrian Army’s rapid advance to the south. In the period from February 23 to February 28, government troops have taken control of over 30 villages and towns, including Kafr Nabel and deployed within striking distance from al-Barah, the last large militant stronghold on the way to the M4 highway. Turkish-led forces demonstrated no real resistance in the area because they threw most of their manpower and equipment towards Saraqib.

Technically, the Syrian military liberated a much larger area than it lost during the week. However, the loss of Saraqib is a painful strategic setback that undermines the Syrian Army control over the M4-M5 crossroad and limits its maneuverability along the frontline area in eastern Idlib.

Furthermore, the threat of a new larger war in the region is increasing. The Erdogan government demonstrates that it is an active and consistent supporter of al-Qaeda and is ready to pay in blood to protect Turkish-backed terrorists in Idlib and consolidate its influence over Syrian sovereign territory in which it had invaded.

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  • Lukas Mol

    Please Russia, go for it and bomb these bastards in to hell!

    • TURKISH SOLDİER

      We send the Syrians to your country. Let the bombs explode in your country a little

      • Lukas Mol

        Yes, we are more than happy to take these great Syrians over here and help them from the terror you’re keeping them in with your lunatic politics and warmachine. And while we are at it, maybe it’s a good idea to make room for all these Syrians, by sending back all those Turks that are over here in Europe!

      • roland

        Do you realise you are fighting for evil ancient demons as well as modern demons otherwise known as zionists

      • Stimme Der DDR

        Once i meet with a turk in Bangkok. He said that “Erdogan is not a real turk he is a Georgian jew”.
        It would not surprise me at all if its true. By the way you have missed the reality these are no Syrians these are terrorists from all over the place and youre team are working with them.

        • Neal Hugh Hurwitz

          Funny!!! Everyone is a Jew eh?

      • Judgement

        BREAKING NEWS: SAA, Russians and Iranians running like cowards from the forces of Sultan Erdogan!

      • Horace Lacondeta

        Lets see how Turkey will do with suspended EU free trade. Are you ready to put all your salary in paying your bread with suitcase of worthless Lira? This is what will happen.

    • Nigel Maund

      Indeed! That’s what they need!!….. and I feel will get very soon!

  • Masha from Russia

    The physical elimination of erdogan and turkish islamist is demanding need for the survival of our Planet.

    • Liberal guy

      U will c more jihadi dead and dead of there supporters in field many many of them that’s the truth with only defeat for the wahhabis scum cowards

  • Christian S

    2016 turkish army faced a large purge in where thousands of good officers got jailed and gave sultan and his muslimbrotherhood affiliates a lot of power in turkey. Whats left of TAF seems to have less problem allyin with Al Qaida and deash time for world to designate TAF as terrorist organisation. One thing zionist, turkey and nato have in common they sleep with al qaida and still think they can dump that bitch anytime, big mistake

  • jim crowland

    Erdogenocide vs GAssad…..who will win?

    • Almaqdisi Brigade

      erdogan is a winner

      • roland

        How could anyone like someone like Erdogan the man is mean nasty ugly add the fact he lies constantly i mean everyone lies a little bit but this man has not uttered a sentence without lying ever in his entire life. I suppose you think he’s tough or something like that which is just not the case he is a bitch a freemason for fucks sake which means he takes orders from his master’s like a good boy.

      • Brother Ma
  • jim crowland

    We need to organize the middle east under a christian rule. A chunk or Ottomania go to Armenia. Another chunk to Greece (Constantinopla, Esmirna, Trapizonda, etc) The Kurdistan nation is created BUT under USA-Russia tutelage. Little Turkey is created with the rest of Ottomania. Syria: A chunk to Kurdistan, the rest is merged with Lebanon under UN-French supervision. Kurdish from Iraq go to new USA-Russia Kurdistan. Iran also gives up its Kurdish territory or Russia-USA nuke the ayatollahs up their asses. A Palestinian state is created and merged with Jordan (1948 partition boundaries)

    • Neal Hugh Hurwitz

      silly boy— Jordan IS the Pal state!

  • Willing Conscience (The Truths

    “By the start of the week, the Syrian Army had halted offensive actions east of Idlib city and redeployed most of its well-trained and motivated units from there to the southern part of the province. Troops and equipment of the 25th Special Forces Division and the 4th Armoured Division joined a ground operation to cut off the front salient south of the M4 highway. This weakened the army defense near Saraqib and Turkish-led forces immediately exploited this.”

    6th, – SAA 25th division capture Saraqib.

    7th to 19th, – 25th division and 4th division begin to secure all the M5 highway from Saraqib to Aleppo.

    15th to 18th, – maps show the 4th and 25th division still fighting in Aleppo governorate to retake the highway, and also shows that the bulk of their forces were still in Aleppo

    19th, – maps still show elements of the SAA still fighting in Aleppo governorate, and it also shows SAA 5th corps reinforcements heading towards Saraqib.

    20th, – Rebels announce the start of operations to recover Nayrab and Saraqib, Turkey mobilizes its own forces to assist and send in tanks men and equipment, the Turks also start an artillery and ground assault against Nayrab and Saraqib, they also shoot down 2 SAAF drones.

    22nd, – the rebels try to shoot down a Russian plane near Saraqib.

    22nd, – the 5th Corps sent to southern Idlib to supposedly start operations to secure all of southern Idlib.

    23rd, – the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) launched a new ground offensive in the southern countryside of Idlib.
    The army’s elite 25th Special Forces Division is reportedly leading the offensive. The 4th Division and the 5th Corps are also participating. It begins with an aerial assault on the 23rd and the ground operations start on the 24th. By the 28th all of southern Idlib has been liberated in its entirety, less than 4 days to secure all of southern Idlib, what a display of military might it was, 3 or 4 shots fired, a few airstrikes, some very fast mobilization by the army, and Bob’s your uncle, we liberated all the south in just 3.5 days, LOL, yeah sure we did.

    26th, – The Turks and terrorists recapture Nayrab.

    27th, – The Turks and terrorists recapture Saraqib.

    So between the 20th and the 23rd the SAA’s 4th division [the bulk of a 25,000 man force], the 25th division [the bulk of a 25,000 man force] and 5th army corps [the bulk of a 15,000 man force], [possibly 40,000+ in total] had all redeployed to southern Idlib from Aleppo where they were, they bypassed the new Turkish offensive against Nayrab and Saraqib [a vitally important highway junction of immense strategic importance] on the way down from Aleppo, avoiding any participation in the ongoing Turkish assault that was hammering the 2 towns, and then started a new campaign just south of Maarrat al Nu’man, and just 3 days later they’d secured all of the southern territory completely.
    Ask yourself, does that sound right, does it make sense, do all the numbers add up, they don’t for me.
    There were no terrorists left in southern Idlib, they’d all gone north to consolidate with the newly arrived Turkish forces, the SAA just quickly moved into the vacant areas they left, in fact there was very little ground combat, it was mostly just aerial assaults that followed the retreating Jihadists north.
    But more importantly, why did the SAA bypass Saraqib and Nayrab on the way down from Aleppo, they must’ve used the highway on the way down, which means they were just 2 or 3 km away from where the Turks were launching the new assault against Nayrab and Saraqib [which they told us they were going to do on the 20th], why did the SAA’s 4th and 25th division and the 5th army corps bypass the new Turkish assault just 3 km away from the highway they used to travel down to Maarrat al Nu’man?
    The 19th is earliest date possible for the start of the SAA redeployment from the northern Aleppo highway, so between the 19th and the 23rd, 4 days, all of the forces had redeployed to southern Idlib ready to start a new campaign.
    Ask yourself this, why would the SAA ignore the new Turkish assault against Nayrab and Saraqib that started on the 20th, when the SAA were losing so badly there [outmanned and outgunned], and they just keep sending their troops to southern Idlib bypassing the fighting ay Nayrab, anyone would think they’d postpone the southern assault and reinforce the units they had protecting Naytab and Saraqib.
    Something’s not right with this statement,

    ” This weakened the army defense near Saraqib and Turkish-led forces immediately exploited this.”

    They just had 40,000+ SAA file past just 3 km away from this vital and strategically important battlefront, what do they mean the Turks exploited this, the Turks started their offensive on the 20th, that’s only one day after the earliest possible date the SAA started to redeploy, so the SAA had 3 or 4 days to divert some of those forces as they travelled through Saraqib to Maarrat al Nu’man, it’s just 3 km to the battlefront from Saraqib, surely the SAA should’ve sent some of their transiting forces to reinforce the troops protecting Nayrab and Saraqib, 5 to 10,000 at least, but no they ignored the new Turkish assault and just went to Maarrat al Nu’man instead, LOL, yeah and pigs can fly too.

    Do you really believe this SF article, I can’t, it’s a terrible piece of propaganda designed to minimise the gravity of the situation, if anything the truth is we pulled our troops away from the battlefront to avoid even bigger losses, that’s the only thing that makes any sense at all, the above story is nothing but offensive to anyone that has any knowledge of the facts and cares to analyse them objectively.

    • Brother Ma

      So tell us your take because I am confused.

      • Willing Conscience (The Truths

        I think the SAA moved the 4th and 25th division down to Idlib before the Turks could cut the highway in half, if they’d stayed in Aleppo they would’ve been trapped there, the Turks announced the offensive on the 20th and on the 27th they captured Saraqib cutting off any more movement on the highway.
        If the SAA had tried to defend the highway and Saraqib instead of liberating the south of Idlib, which was practically empty anyway, the Turks may have been stopped, why didn’t they try to defend Saraqib and the highway, they had 7 days from when the Turks first announced their intentions to defend the area, so why didn’t they. On the 20th the Turks start attacking Nayrab near the highway, about the 19th or 20th the SAA start travelling down the highway coming from Aleppo and going to Southern Idlib, and about halfway in between on the highway lies Saraqib, why do you think the SAA drove straight past a battlefront without helping the outmanned and outgunned SAA fighters in Saraqib and Nayrab just 5 km away, and instead went South to liberate territory that didn’t really need liberating because all the terrorists had already left. There is only one explanation for that.

    • Bill Wilson

      Your troop numbers are wildly inflated.

      • Willing Conscience (The Truths

        I hate to admit it but you’re right, I should’ve checked first, I thought a Syrian army division had 25,000 soldiers, but on checking there are only 15,000 in a division, so my total of 65,000 is incorrect, the number is actually 45,000 soldiers, sorry I should’ve checked first before posting, so when I said this,

        “They just had 40,000+ SAA file past just 3 km away from this vital and strategically important battlefront.”

        I was incorrect, the number should have been 30,000 instead, since each division has 15,000 men x 3 = 45,000, then minus the garrison troops that aren’t present or participating in the fighting.
        So please accept my apology.

        • Brother Ma

          So the explanation is ? Cowardice? Incompetence? Russia told Syria to astana (pun) down?

          • Willing Conscience (The Truths

            Cowardice, no I don’t think so,
            Incompetence, YES from start to finish,
            Russia told Syria to astana (pun) down :], yes I think the Russians had no choice but to do that, the alternative was to have them try and oppose the Turks offensive and give them air support, which of course would’ve put Russia in direct conflict with Turkey.
            Everyone though Erdogan was bluffing but now we all know he wasn’t, come hell or highwater he’s going to reclaim all the territory that was covered by the original Astana agreement, which means pushing the SAA back to the locations they occupied before that agreement was signed.
            Very very bad, the only thing I can imagine that will stop that worst case scenario is, some very clever negotiations and solid assurances from Putin to Erdogan, maybe even a sweetener or two as well, and from Assad, he has to do some extremely authentic groveling to the UN, and also make them some solid assurances too. They were very much on Assad’s side before we started attacking Aleppo, now they’re really pissed at Assad for not doing what I’m assuming they’d agreed upon during their talks [amendments to UN resolution 2254], so it’s possible we may be able to dissuade Erdogan from doing exactly what he says and also possibly also bring the UN back to a more reasonable stance.
            I’m not giving up all hope but the situation is indeed dire, we won’t liberate anymore territory and instead will lose heaps of what we just gained or maybe even the lot, but that will be the end of Erdogan’s ambitions for Idlib, now we have to start to worry about Deir ez Zor and Erdogan’s known ambitions concerning that territory. Cheers.

    • roland

      Ok if what your saying is true then what the hell is going on? Let’s hope it’s some diabolical stratagy

      • Willing Conscience (The Truths

        I’ve already answered the same question for someone else so I hope you don’t mind me copying and pasting my response.

        I think the SAA moved the 4th and 25th division down to Idlib before the Turks could cut the highway in half, if they’d stayed in Aleppo they would’ve been trapped there, the Turks announced the offensive on the 20th and on the 27th they captured Saraqib cutting off any more movement on the highway.
        If the SAA had tried to defend the highway and Saraqib instead of liberating the south of Idlib, which was practically empty anyway, the Turks may have been stopped, why didn’t they try to defend Saraqib and the highway, they had 7 days from when the Turks first announced their intentions to defend the area, so why didn’t they. On the 20th the Turks start attacking Nayrab near the highway, about the 19th or 20th the SAA start travelling down the highway coming from Aleppo and going to Southern Idlib, and about halfway in between on the highway lies Saraqib, why do you think the SAA drove straight past a battlefront without helping the outmanned and outgunned SAA fighters in Saraqib and Nayrab just 5 km away, and instead went South to liberate territory that didn’t really need liberating because all the terrorists had already left. There is only one explanation for that.

  • Almaqdisi Brigade

    Please Bomd Bashar Al Assad..

  • Constellation 2023

    The barbarian Greeks and Europeans have no consideration for human rights and cannot give lessons to Turkey, as Turkey hosts the most refugees in the world with a record 3.5-4 million. Greek goat fcukers are gassing poor refugees. The world has seen again that Europe lacks basic human dignity and is in essence xenophobic, Islamophobic and anti-human rights.

    • John Wallace

      Turkey agreed to take the refugees if the EU wou;d give them money. They took the money but want to use the refugees as political pawns for their advantage. Turkey is the one that is wrong here and wrong for failing to live up to their agreement on seperating the terrorists and by illegaly invading Syria to attack the Kurds and now the legal government of Syria.

  • Judgement

    BREAKING NEWS: SAA, Russians and Iranians running like cowards from the forces of Sultan Erdogan!

    • John Wallace

      I think you have that back to front . eg should be the coward forces backed by the Sultan are running like scared dogs from their own shadows.

  • Neal Hugh Hurwitz

    Erdogan, Assad, Iran regime, Putin, Hamas, and the right wing in ISR— all BAD!!!