Hayat Tahir Sham (HTS), formerly known as Jibhat al Nusra, the Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, began demanding the evacuation of civilians in Agrabat in the Idlib province recently, or they would be moved by force. HTS is supported by President Erdogan of Turkey and has come under increased pressure to remove civilians from areas of armed conflict under an agreement between Turkey and Russia. Idlib is the last terrorist occupied area in Syria. The Syrian government has regained about 70% of the nation’s territory and has allied with the Russian military in the fight against terrorism, which is an obligation of all UN members.
The skies over northwest Syria witnessed flights by Turkish and Russian warplanes amid the almost continuous mutual bombardment of southern Idlib. Civilians have said they fear a massive military operation is coming.
Turkish F16 aircraft flew along the border strip between Syria and Turkey, while Russian reconnaissance aircraft flew over Zawiya Mountain, and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) shelled HTS in intense strikes on areas within Zawiya Mountain in Idlib, unleashing a heavy barrage on the terrorist positions.
The heaviest fighting in six months continues to intensify in Idlib between Harras al-din (HaD) and the Turkish backed HTS, and the SAA.
Idlib is in a de-escalation zone agreed upon between Turkey and Russia in March. Erdogan of Turkey has poured thousands of troops in an invasion of Idlib, later President Putin of Russia forged an agreement to defuse a military confrontation. Turkey has more than ten thousand troops stationed in dozens of bases in Idlib province, and Russian pressure and diplomacy have sought to contain them.
The recent upsurge in fighting has seen the SAA amassing troops on the front lines in a looming confrontation, with the SAA increasing attacks on the numerous Turkish occupation outposts and the Turkish countered by sending in 15 armored vehicles over the border from Turkey.Russia-Turkey Agreement over Idlib Faces Collapse