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SEPTEMBER 2020

Turkish Hard Power Vs Hayat Tahrir al-Sham Soft Power

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Turkish Hard Power Vs Hayat Tahrir al-Sham Soft Power

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On April 27, Turkish unmanned aerial vehicles dropped leaflets calling on Idlib residents to support the Turkish Army and its efforts to deblock the M4 highway in southern Idlib.

uch actions by the Turkish military likely demonstrate that the negotiations with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which were held after a military incident between the sides on April 26, likely ended with no real progress. If the Turkish Army continues its efforts to de-block the part of the M4 highway near Nayrab by force, it may found itself in the state of an open military confrontation with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

The April 26 clash between the Turkish Army on the one side and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its supporters on the other side became the first time when Turkish forces responded with a hard power to attempts of Idlib protesters to sabotage their actions by ‘peaceful means’.

First, Turkish troops clashed with pro-Hayat Tahrir al-Sham protesters that were blocking the M4 highway near Nayrab. Then, when several protesters were killed and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham militants joined the fight, Turkish combat drones struck a Hayat Tahrir al-Sham position in the nearby area.

The pro-HTS propaganda video shows the moment of the clash between Hayat Tahrir al-Sham militants and Turkish troops near Nayrab on April 26 (despite the title about civilians):

Earlier, the Turkish Army, the US-led coalition and the Russian military intentionally avoided using military force in response to non-lethal actions by local protesters. However, on April 26, the Turkish Army created a precendent for the usage of force against any persons that pose even a minor threat to military contingents deployed in the county.

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