On February 29, the remaining militants in northwest Syria launched a new large-scale attack in the southern Idlib countryside with direct support from the Turkish military.
Al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) and the National Front for Liberation (NFL) are reportedly leading the assault on the ground.
In the few first hours of the attack, the militants recaptured the key town of Kafar Aweed as well as the nearby town of Zaqqum.
The Turkish military is reportedly providing the militants with a direct fire support. Heavy artillery is pounding SAA positions in southern Idlib, while armed drones are targeting any troops or equipment that would move in the open.
According to several sources, the militants are still advancing in southern Idlib. The SAA’s newly-established positions in the region may be on the brink of collapse.
A similar Turkish-backed attack allowed the militants to recapture Saraqib city in southeast Idlib earlier this week. The SAA was pushed out of the city in a single day.
Turkey’s significant support for the militants has allowed them to gain momentum and inflicted catastrophic losses on the SAA and its allies. Facing this escalation by Ankara, Damascus and its allies will soon have to take decisive action to prevent a real defeat in Greater Idlib.