Late on July 31, a Turkish-backed field commander was killed in the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).
According to pro-government sources, the commander was killed when T-72s Sniper battle tanks of the SAA hit militants’ posts and fortifications near the town of Benin in the southern countryside of Idlib.
The Sniper is the SAA codename for Soviet-made T-72 battle tanks which were upgraded prior to the war with the Galileo Avionica TURMS-T day/night computerized fire control system made by Italy’s Galileo Avionica.
The slain field commander was identified as “Abu Shaim’a Ariha” of the Turkish-backed Suqour al-Sham Brigades. The group is a member of the al-Fateh al-Mubeen Operations Room, which is led by al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).
Abu Shaim’a is not the first commander to be killed in Greater Idlib this year. On June 10, Russian and Syrian strikes killed HTS’ military spokesman, Abu Khalid al-Shami, main media coordinator, Abu Musab al-Homsi, as well as Mu’ataz al-Nasir, commander of the group’s internal security forces. On June 21, a commander of the Turkish-backed National Front for Liberation known as Muhammad Qadi was killed by SAA fire.
The SAA strikes were a response to recent violations of the ceasefire in Greater Idlib. According to the Russian Reconciliation Center, HTS and its allies carried out more than 30 attacks over the last 24 hours. The militants shared footage of some of their attacks.
The situation in Greater Idlib is slowly spinning out of control. The ceasefire agreement, which was brokered by Russia and Turkey last year, is barely holding on. The Russian Aerospace Forces stepped up their combat operations in the region in the last few weeks.
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