In a blatant violation of the ceasefire in Greater Idlib, Turkish-backed militants shelled the government-held city of Saraqib late on March 31.
According to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), several artillery shells landed in the city. The shells were fired from the nearby town of Almastumah, where an “observation post” of the Turkish military is known to be located.
Opposition sources confirmed the SANA’s report, claiming that the artillery strike was carried out by the Turkish military itself. This is yet to be confirmed. However, it is highly possible. Turkish forces carried out similar attacks over the last few months.
Saraqib city is located on the M5 highway linking the Syrian capital, Damascus, with Aleppo city, the country’s industrial hub. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) managed to secure the city earlier this year following intense battles with the Turkish military and terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).
The artillery strike on Saraqib violates the March 5 agreement between Russia and Turkey. It is still unclear if Ankara’s forces were behind the strike. Nonetheless, it is not a secret that the Turkish military is preparing for a new military confrontation in the Syrian region.