Two Turkish soldiers were injured and two vehicles damaged in Syria’s southern Idlib on March 24. Their military convoy was targeted by a roadside bomb explosion near the village of Sfuhun. Turkish troops based at the al-Barah observation post were conducting a patrol along the contact line between the Syrian Army and Idlib armed groups.
This became the second attack on Turkish forces in Greater Idlib in less than 7 days. On March 19, two Turkish soldiers were killed and several others injured, when an IED exploded near their convoy near the village of Muhamabal.
Pro-militant propaganda claims that the attacks were carried out by the ‘criminal Assad regime’ in an attempt to destabilize the situation. Turkish media outlets pay scant attention to the situation reporting about some unidentified radicals. The open secret is that Turkish forces have become the target of attacks by groups that Ankara has been supporting with its opposition of the anti-terrorist operations of the Syrian Army. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Houras al-Din, the Turkistan Islamic Party and similar organizations see the creation of a buffer zone along the M4 as a grave threat to their interests and survival. Therefore they are sabotaging the deal by blocking the highway and fuelling military tensions in the region. In the near future, they may even stage a large false-flag attack on Turkish forces near the contact line planning to blame the ‘Assad regime’ for it and thus relaunch military hostilities between the Turkish Army and the Syrian Armed Forces.
Violations of the ceasefire regime by Idlib radicals are also increasing. Recently, ATGM, mortar attacks and artillery shelling were reported near Kafr Nubl, Saraqib, Kansafra and Kabinah. Turkish-backed groups claim that this week they destroyed a Syrian Army battle tank and bulldozer north of Saraqib.
Members of Turkish-backed Faylaq al-Madj raided the village of Sukariya, near the town of Tell Abyad, in northeastern Syria. They attacked locals wounding dozens of them and looting their property. Earlier in March, members of Turkish-backed militant groups protested in the area of Operation Peace Spring because there had been a significant delay of salaries from Ankara. Turkish sources claim that Turkey is actively working to put an end to looting and attacks on locals. Nonetheless, such incidents continue to erupt on a regular basis.
Several explosions were reported near positions of the Syrian Army and Iranian-backed forces at al-Bukamal. Local sources claim that they were a result of actions by ISIS cells. Over the past months, al-Bukamal became a target of dozens of Israeli and US strikes. ISIS terrorists are likely trying to exploit this.