Turkey has resumed its weapon supplies to “mainstream Syrian rebels” to help them fend off the ongoing Syrian Arab Army (SAA) military operation in northern Hama, the Reuters news agency revealed in a report on May 25.
According to the news agency, Turkey is supplied the militants with dozens of armored vehicles, Grad rocket launchers and anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), including US-made TOW.
“In doing so [resuming weapons supplies] Turkey signaled its readiness to preserve its influence in northwestern Syria, where it has beefed up its troop presence in a dozen military bases that were set up under a de-escalation deal with Russia,” the agency quoted a senior rebel commander as saying.
The SAA launched its limited military operation in the northern Hama countryside earlier this month with direct support from Russia, whose Aerospace Forces are providing close air support to SAA units.
A Western intelligence source told Reuters that Washington had given a “greenlight” for Turkish-backed militants to use TOW ATGMs in order to repel the SAA operation.
Turkish-backed militants are supporting the former branch of al-Qaeda in Syria, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), effectively helping it to maintain its presence in northwestern Syria. This raises serious questions about the real motives behind the Turkish support for these militants.