The Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) was deploying reinforcements in the northwestern region of Greater Idlib, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on August 27, citing sources familiar with the matter.
The sources told the UK-based monitoring group that many of the SNA’s factions, including the al-Shamiya Front, the al-Hamza Division, the Elite Army and the Sham Legion, had been deploying reinforcements since mid-August.
“Since mid-August, [the factions] began transferring military groups in batches from the areas of the Olive Branch and Euphrates Shield operations, towards Idlib governorate, at the request of Turkish intelligence,” the SOHR’s report reads.
The SOHR noted that the move had coincided with the deployment of reinforcements of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) around the al-Zawiya Mount in southern Idlib.
According to several recent reports, the SAA and its allies are preparing to launch an operation in Greater Idlib with the target being the al-Zawiya Mount. The militants, including those backed by Turkey, are preparing to repel any attack on their remaining strongholds.
Greater Idlib is occupied by al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham. The group is allied to Turkish-backed factions and receiving military support from Ankara.
Turkey is apparently planning to confront any new offensive by the SAA and its allies on Greater Idlib. This could lead to a dangerous escalation.