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Less than 24 hours after the Israeli strike on an unknown compound near Syria’s Aleppo province, details are beginning to emerge.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that the strikes had killed 5 “pro-Iranian fighters” allied to the Damascus government. Two were Syrian, while three were not.
Additionally, SOHR claimed that Israeli F-16 warplanes destroyed a base used by pro-Iranian groups and a nearby weapons depot.
This was somehow achieved with only a single missile striking its target, as seven of the eight munitions launched at Syrian soil were intercepted by Pantsir-S and Buk-M2 systems of the Syrian Arab Air Defense Forces.
The chaos caused by the Israeli strike, provided ample opportunity for the so-called “moderate opposition” in nearby Greater Idlib to motivate its ranks, and even organize an attack on the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).
On July 18th, the al-Fateh al-Mubeen Operations Room, the largest military formation in the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib, placed its militants on high alert.
Two days later, to commemorate Eid, Abu Mohammad al-Julani the leader of HTS visited foreign jihadist dignitaries.
Simultaneously, Turkish Interior Minister Soleyman Soylu visited the cities of Azaz and Afrin, both occupied by Turkey since 2017, to commemorate the holiday.
Amer al-Sheikh Abu Ubaidah, leader of the Ahrar al-Sham movement, an al-Qaeda affiliate, visited his soldiers stationed near the front lines in Greater Idlib.
Finally, “Brigadier General” Fadlallah al-Hajji commander of the National Liberation Front (NLF) visited his troops. NLF is part of the Syrian National Army (SNA), a Turkish-backed militant faction.
It is more than likely that Eid commemoration is a pretext, for coordinating the actions of all the factions in Greater Idlib, as well as the Turkish Armed Forces.
And, sure enough, on July 20th, four terrorists of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) carried out a suicidal raid on an SAA post in the town of Mizanaz in the western countryside of Aleppo. Five SAA soldiers were killed in the attack.
Recently, militants in Greater Idlib have escalated their attacks on the SAA and shelled a number of government-held towns and villages around the region. Ahrar al-Sham terrorists used heavy artillery to attack SAA positions in Qalaat Shalef in the northern countryside of Lattakia.
Instead of attempting to preserve the ceasefire and force the militants to adhere to it, Turkey instead shelled the M4 highway north of Raqqa, killing one civilian and injuring three others.
A storm is “highly likely” coming in northern Syria, and all the pawns are taking their places as Ankara prepares to open the floodgates of violence.