The Turkish military has deployed a MIM-23 Hawk medium-range air-defense system in the northwestern region of Greater Idlib.
Opposition activists released a video showing at least one Hawk battery moving through the Syrian region on March 28 afternoon. Three M-192 anti-aircraft missile launchers for the system can be seen in the video.
Obretix, a defense observer on Twitter, revealed that the Hawk battery was filmed on a sideway in northern Idlib, a few meters to the south of the Bab al-Hawa border crossing.
— Samir (@obretix) March 27, 2020
The Air Defense Command of the Turkish Air Force (TAF) has 16 Hawk battery, which have been modernized to the XXI standard.
The Hawk XXI is a more advanced, and more compact version of the U.S.-made air-defense system. This version uses the 3D MPQ-64 Sentinel radars, which have a range of up to 40 km, and the AN/MPQ-61 high power illuminating radars (HPIR).
The Turkish systems are armed with the more advanced MIM-23K anti-aircraft missile with a range of up to 45 km and altitude of 20 km. The missile, which was introduced in 1994, also has a new warhead and fuzing.
Hawk systems will pose a real threat to the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) and to the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS). Earlier this year, the Turkish military targeted both Syrian and Russian warplanes flying over Idlib with Stinger missiles, which confirms that Ankara is willing to use its air-defense systems against both air forces.
The Turkish military may deploy additional Hawk batteries and even other air-defense systems in Greater Idlib over the upcoming few days.
The deployment of such advance weapons indicates that Turkey is not planning to implement the new agreement with Russia. Ankara is apparently preparing for a large confrontation with the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies.