Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda), al-Qaeda-linked Huras al-Din and other militant groups linked to them are refusing to leave their positions in the demilitarization zone, which is set to be fully established in the province of Idlib and nearby areas by October 20.
While the Turkish side is openly claiming that heavy weaponry have been withdrawn from the demilitarized zone, the attitude of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other radicals pose an open threat to the full implementation of the agreement.
According to some Syrian pro-government activists and experts, this situation may trigger an implementation of the military option to force the militants to obey. Nonetheless, Ankara is not interested in any advances by Syrian government forces in Idlib. So, it’s taking its own steps to have a military option against the “rebelling” proxies.
Over the past week, the Turkish Armed Forces have sent an additional group of troops and military equipment alongside with a new group of proxies trained in Turkey to the province of Idlib. According to reports, these moves are designed to strengthen the Turkish “observation points” along the contact line between the militant-held and government-held areas. In the future, if the situation goes out of control, Ankara may use this force to punish non-loyal militant groups and prevent further advances by the Syrian Army.