On April 3, the Turkish military deployed large reinforcements in the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib, where it maintains more than 60 positions.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the reinforcements entered the region from the Bab al-Hawa border crossing, which is usually reserved for trade and humanitarian operations only.
“The [reinforcements] convoy consisted of 40 armored vehicles and eight trucks loaded with military and logistic supplies,” the monitoring group said in a report.
The London-based group said that an additional 50 Turkish military vehicles will enter Greater Idlib in the upcoming few hours.
The reinforcements will likely be deployed in two of the Turkish military’s largest positions in Greater Idlib, al-Mastumah camp in the southern countryside of Idlib and Taftanaz air base in the governorate’s eastern countryside. Hundreds of Turkish troops are already deployed in these two positions.
Exactly a week earlier, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) destroyed a BMC Kirpi II MRAP [Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected] vehicle of the Turkish military in Greater Idlib with anti-tank guided missiles. Two Turkish soldiers and an officer were wounded in the strike, which was a response to Turkish attacks on SAA posts in northern and northeastern Syria.
Turkey’s decision to deploy reinforcements in Greater Idlib is likely meant to deter the SAA and its allies. Despite the fact that the region is ruled by a terrorist group, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, Ankara continues to maintain a large, heavily-armed force there.
The ceasefire in the region, which was brokered by Russia and Turkey more than two years ago, is still holding up despite some problems. On April 2, the SAA shelled positions of HTS in the southern Idlib countryside, killing a militant and wounding three others, in response to recent ceasefire violations.