On November 9, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) targeted an engineering vehicle of the Turkish military that attempted to build fortifications right on the main frontline in the southern part of the Greater Idlib region.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the incident took place near the village of Afes in the northern outskirts of the government-held town of Saraqib. The Turkish engineering vehicle was targeted with heavy machine guns.
“The vehicle withdrew before sustaining any losses,” the monitoring group said in a report.
A day after the incident, SAA troops clashed with militants of al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahir al-Sham (HTS) and its Turkish-backed allies in the northern outskirts of Saraqib. No casualties or material losses were reported.
In the last few weeks, the Turkish military reinforced its troops in Greater Idlib in response to reports of a near attack on the region by the SAA and its allies.
The Turkish military established a new post next to the town of Afes on October 10. Two battle tanks, four armored personnel carriers, three armored vehicles and around 50 troops were deployed in the post that oversees the Lattakia-Aleppo highway, the M4, and the Hama-Aleppo highway, the M5.
The SAA and its allies are clearly not pleased with Turkey’s military buildup in Greater Idlib, where the situation remain unstable.
Ankara intends to stop any move by the SAA and its allies to reinforce the ceasefire agreement signed on 5 March 2020. HTS, other al-Qaeda groups and Turkish-backed factions in Greater Idlib violate the ceasefire on a daily basis.