The “Russian-Turkish” arms service, which has been in effect since March 6 in northwestern Syria, suffered a serious accident last night until Tuesday through Wednesday, with the first air strikes attributed to Russia and carried out in an area on the edge of the provinces of Hama, Idleb and Latakia.
In force since March 6 in northwestern Syria, the ceasefire that had allowed the cessation of an offensive by President Bacharal-Assad’s forces against the Idleb region, the country’s last major jihadist and rebel bastion, is it still viable, viable?
After a three-month break, several air strikes were carried out, the first since the Trego negotiated by Russia, allied with Damascus, and Turkey, the border country supporting rebel groups, were carried out, on the night Tuesday to Wednesday, northwest of these clashes attributed to Russia, allied by the president Bacharal-Assad’s regime.
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH) director Rami AbdelRahmane told AFP that “Russian attacks targeted Tuesday before midnight and Wednesday at dawn” an area on the outskirts of the provinces of Hama, Idleb and Latakia.
According to him, the Russian attacks aim to “remove combatants from the M4 motorway, as well as from certain villages in the Sahlal-Ghab region, where the regime’s forces are deployed together with the Russian forces”.
The Russian-Turkish arms agreement provides for joint patrols along this strategic, real strategic path that separates the rebellious territories from regions held by the regime and which crosses the Idleb region to link Aleppo (north) to Latakia (west).
A province that is still beyond Damascus control
The province of Idleb, which is outside the Syrian regime’s control, is controlled mainly by jihadists from Hayat Tahrir al-Cham (HTS, former Syrian branch in Al Qaeda). Two other jihadist factions, the small Hourasal-Din group and the Turkestan Islamic Party, are also present.
Although these are the first air strikes since March 6, ground fighting had already resumed in Idleb in May, where sporadic clashes and artillery violence occurred regularly despite the ceasefire. Fighters of regime forces or allied militias and 13 jihadists, mostly from the small Hurasal-Din group, had lost their lives in the northwest of Hama province, near Idleb, in fighting.
President Bacharal-Assad, supported by his Russian ally’s air attack force, is determined to regain control of the entire province of Idleb.
Since December, the offensive launched against it has enabled its troops to crack large swaths of the rebel and jihadist enclave. also important areas in the neighboring provinces of Hama, Aleppo and Latakia. Syrian forces have seized the M5 motorway, connecting Aleppo to Damascus, after taking the last rebel bastion on the road, in the western suburbs of Aleppo.
An offensive that has left about 500 civilian dead since December, according to OSDH, and about 1 million displaced according to the UN, of which 120,000 used the weapons to return to their homes.
A previous agreement signed between Ankara and Moscow in September 2018 to set up a “demilitarized” zone to avoid a new offensive by Damascus in the province has remained a dead letter.