Members of al-Qaeda-linked Idlib groups embedded with Turkish troops have reentered the town of Saraqib in eastern Idlib following the collapse of the Syrian Army defense northwest of the town last night.
The attack was directly backed by Turkish artillery strikes on positions of the Syrian Army. Al-Qaeda members were actively using Turkish-supplied armoured vehicles and even MANPADs.
According to pro-Turkish sources, Saraqib is now fully in the hands of ‘Idlib rebels’ (i.e. Turkish troops and their al-Qaeda friends). Pro-government sources claim that the Syrian Army is preparing for a counter-attack in the area.
Russian media outlets citing ‘anonymous sources’ claim that Saraqib is still in the hands of the Syrian Army. These claims are vague. Photo and video evidence from the ground indicate that in the best case (for the Syrian Army) it’s now contested.
Local sources name the Syrian Army overcommitment to the avdance south of the M4 highway among one of the results of the recent setbacks in Saraqib. According to them, a large number of trained and expirienced units were redeployed from Saraqib to southern Idlib. Other issues the lack of coordination among pro-government units and close-air-support.
Military equipment captured by Turkish-led forces near Saraqib:
Pro-Turkish propaganda from the countryside of Saraqib (February 26):