On October 6, Head of Liwa’ Muetasim’s political office Mustafa Sejari confirmed that the Turkish Army and groups of the Free Syrian Amy (FSA) will enter Syria’s Idlib governorate soon, according to a report of the Syrian opposition news website Enab Baladi.
Liwa’ Muetasim is a Turkish-backed FSA group. It’s a part of Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield force.
Sejari also hinted in a series of tweets that the Turkish Army and FSA groups will not only enter Idlib governorate, but will also fight Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) there. Sejari also attacked HTS, and called its current offensive in the northern Hama countryside a “service for the enemy”.
“Rescuing Idlib, and protecting its people is a Syrian interest. Turkey is a faithful ally in our war against terrorism, supporting our forces upon our request, we are joint by operation rooms and decisions,” Sejari said in a Tweet.
Meanwhile, Syrian opposition sources published a video of the Hamza Division units moving along the Syrian-Turkish border. In the video the fighters confirm that they are going to enter Idlib governorate with the Turkish Army. The Hamza Division is also one of the Turkish-backed FSA groups involved in Ankara’s Operation Euphrates Shield.
— Fox Reporter (@foximperialism) 6 October 2017
First Lieutenant Abdullah Halawa, a military commander of the Hamza Division also confirmed to Enab Baladi that the Euphrates Shield force is going to enter Idlib governorate very soon.
Meanwhile, Ahmed Mowaffaq Zidan a well-known journalist of the Qatari al-Jazeera news TV channel also confirmed that the Turkish Army and FSA groups will enter Idlib governorate soon. However, Zidan claimed that Turkey agreed with HTS on its deployment in Idlib. In this case, there will be no clashes between the two sides.
المعلومات تتحدث عن موافقة هيئة تحرير الشام على دخول القوات التركية #ادلب و هو ما جعل الرئيس التركي و المتحدث باسم الحكومة يؤكدان عليه بقوة
— د ـ أحمد موفق زيدان (@Ahmadmuaffaq) 5 October 2017
Zidan claims are likely untrue, as HTS has announced many times that it is against any Turkish intervention in Idlib governorate. However, HTS might not attack Turkish forces right away like what ISIS did in the northern Aleppo countryside.
Opposition sources already claimed that 5 fighters of HTS were injured during clashes with FSA fighters in Kafr Takharim town near the Syrian-Turkish border in the northern Idlib countryside.
If confirmed, this could confirm that there is no deal between Turkey and HTS.
Some opposition activists claimed that the Turkish Army and FSA groups might enter Idlib governorate within the next few hours. Other sources speculated that the Turkish Army will enter after 2-4 days of preparations.