Chaos is brewing in the Aleppo countryside, as the Syrian Arab Army reportedly prepares for a decisive push on the Turkish-occupied areas.
All eyes are set on the town of Al-Bab and the surrounding area.
On March 7th, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) shelled the outskirts of the Turkish-occupied town of al-Bab. According to sources from the “moderate opposition”, at least ten mortar rounds fired by the SAA landed in the towns of Bratah and al-Dana near al-Bab.
There was one reported casualty, and one injury. The previous day saw shelling from the SAA on the same location, without any casualties and damage being reported.
These developments followed the incident on March 5 when, the Syrian military used ballistic missiles and rockets to pound Turkish-affiliated smugglers in the areas of al-Himran and Tarhin. According to reports, over 40 criminals were injured and more than 200 oil trucks and storage facilities were destroyed.
More than three years ago, the Turkish Armed Forces wrestled the city of al-Bab away from ISIS. Since then, the SAA has been waiting for an opportunity to liberate it from the successive occupations.
Nearby, in the northeastern part of Aleppo city itself, there appears to be a Turkish-funded insurgency rising.
On March 4th, saboteurs burned a minivan of the al-Quds Brigade in the district of Hannano. The al-Quds Brigade, made mostly of Palestinians, is one of the largest pro-government factions in Aleppo. The group Youth of Aleppo al-Shahba Regiment for Special Missions claimed responsibility for the attack. Their allegiance is formally unknown, but it is obvious.
It comes down to speculation, but pro-Turkish groups could have carried out the sabotage, in order to spread chaos and impede the SAA’s attack on the Turkish-occupied cities in the countryside.
Nearby, in Greater Idlib, the soon-to-be-rebranded Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) terrorists are attempting to merge with the Turkish-backed National Front for Liberation (NFL).
This proposed military council is clearly meant to provide a legitimate cover for the rebranded terrorist activities of HTS and other al-Qaeda factions in Greater Idlib.
Sure enough, on March 6th, an infamous propagandist of HTS, Tahir al-Omar, confirmed that work was ongoing to establish a “Defense Ministry” in Greater Idlib. HTS, in the past, has attacked the NFL occasionally, despite the fact they’ve been allied. For the purposes of the “moderate opposition” and the rebranding of terrorists, those issues have been left in the past.
Greater Idlib is still the greatest source of the terrorist threat, and no amount of rebranding of terrorists can change that.
A sense of urgency should be growing with in HTS and the Turkish-proxies in Greater Idlib, as their turn is likely coming shortly after any operation to recapture the Turkish-occupied towns in the Aleppo countryside.