On March 4, units of the Syrian Army supported by Russian and Syrian warplanes launched an attack on the town of Afis north of Saraqib in the province of Idlib.
Government forces are aiming to clear the town of Turkish-led forces in order to secure the M5 highway from possible attacks from the area. According to pro-Syrian sources, clashes in Afis are now ongoing.
A closer look at ‘moderate suicide bombers’ supported by Turkey in Idlib:
Woah. The SVBIED attack against a Syrian loyalist position near Deir al-Kabirah in S. Idlib on March 1 was conducted by an Uzbek 'Tawhid wal-Jihad' fighter – the first recorded such instance. Video shows inside of an SVBIED workshop, and the first shot shows 2 separate SVBIEDs. pic.twitter.com/Pa6EtbV3VK
— Hugo Kaaman (@HKaaman) March 4, 2020
At the same time, al-Qaeda terrorists backed up by the Turkish artillery and air power carried out another attempt to capture Saraqib, where the Russian Military Police had been deployed.
Pro-government soruces claim that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Turkistan Islamic Party and other al-Qaeda-linked friends of the Erdogan regime were welcomed with intense air and artillery strikes and the attack was repelled. However, these claims still have to be confirmed. The situation on the ground remains tense.
#SYRIA | ?? MoD: #Turkey has allowed its observation posts, established under 2018 #Sochi deal, to virtually merge with #terrorist bases in #Idlib. In violation of international law it has deployed a strike force the size of a mechanised division there ➡️ https://t.co/s97qRUmLis pic.twitter.com/FPpiIufroA
— Russian Embassy, Syria (@RusEmbSyria) March 4, 2020
On March 5, the Turkish and Russian leaders are set to meet in Moscow to discuss the situation in Idlib. So, the Turkish leadership fiercely wants to capture Saraqib before the meeting.
Pro-militant sources also claim that the Syrian Army shelled another Turkish observation post.
— IDLIB POST (@IdlibEn) March 4, 2020
During the past 24 hours, 3 soldiers were killed and 15 others were injured according to official statements by the Turkish Defense Ministry.
Some recent footage from the Saraqib area: