Syrian Forces v. US/Turkish Supported Terrorists in Idlib
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
The struggle for Syria's liberation has miles to go because of illegal US occupation of northern and southern parts of the country, illegal Turkish occupation of northern areas along its border, and the situation in Idlib province.
It's the last remaining stronghold of anti-Syrian terrorists, heavily armed with Western and Israeli weapons — many thousands supported by the US, NATO, Israel, the Saudis, and Turkey.
Eliminating them and foreign occupation is essential to preserve and protect Syrian sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Days earlier during a Security Council session on Syria, Russian envoy Vassily Nebenzia said the following:
A key "priority task is fighting against terrorism in Syria, where Idlib and hostages kept there remain terrorists' last stronghold."
US/Turkish supported jihadists "do not observe the cessation of hostilities…violat(ing) it daily."
"The target of their attacks and of fire from various sorts of weaponry is the Syrian army, civil facilities (residential areas, hospitals, etc.), and the Russian air base in Khmeimim."
"By all means, such armed provocations cannot be left unanswered."
Russian intelligence suggests jihadist-connected White Helmets intend to stage another false flag CW incident in Idlib — to be wrongfully blamed on Syrian forces.
"Those signals are very alarming," said Nebenzia. "We know too well how those stagings are used for (US-led NATO) military and political goals."
Since December, Syrian forces have advanced in Idlib, liberating many towns and villages, greatly aided by Russian airpower.
Since last Friday, Syrian media reported that government forces liberated Louf, Qamhana, Hish, Ameria, Kafr Mazdah, Tabish, Kafr Barrikh, and Kafr Dadikh villages.
Last week, the strategic city of Ma'arat al-Nu'man was retaken. Government forces continue advancing in the province and surrounding areas, Syria's Foreign Ministry saying:
They "will not stop until the elimination of those terrorists, who threaten safety and security of Syrian civilians" — until Idlib and other jihadist controlled areas are liberated, including in Aleppo province and elsewhere.
Last week, Turkish President Erdogan demanded that Damascus halt its Idlib offensive, saying:
His regime "will not shy away from doing whatever is necessary, including using military force" to counter Syrian forces.
Turkish troops are in Syria without permission from Damascus, illegally occupying its territory, part of Erdogan's revanchist agenda, aiming to annex northern Syrian territory, especially coveting its oil producing areas.
According to Turkey's war ministry, four of its troops were killed, others wounded in Idlib over the weekend, adding:
Turkish forces retaliated against Syrian positions. Ankara deployed more forces cross-border, reportedly including dozens of armored vehicles and tanks.
In September 2018, Putin and Erdogan agreed on establishing a 15 – 20 km-wide demilitarized zone in Idlib along the Turkish border.
Deescalation never happened, US/Turkish supported jihadists using the zone as a platform to attack Syrian forces and civilians, targeting Russia's Khmeimim airbase as well.
According to Russia's reconciliation center in Syria, up to 60 jihadist attacks occur daily, supported by the US, NATO and Turkey.
Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem earlier called Idlib's liberation "our (top) priority."
Ceasefires and dialogue proved futile, force the only viable option, why the Syrian offensive supported by Russian airpower was launched weeks earlier.
Last Friday, Southfront explained the situation in Idlib as follows, saying:
"Ankara demands the Syrian Army to halt (its) military operation against al-Qaeda-linked groups in the region because these al-Qaeda groups are deeply linked to Turkish proxies operating there" — against the Syrian Arab Republic.
On Sunday, Southfront reported that Turkish backed jihadists attacked Syrian forces in Idlib and Aleppo provinces with "anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs)" — aiming to slow their advance.
Reportedly, US/Turkish supported jihadists "receiv(ed) fresh shipments of ATGMs, including US-made" TOW anti-tank missiles, able to penetrate armor when fired from up to 3,000 meters from targets.
On Sunday, Turkey's Anadolu news agency reported that Turkish warplanes struck Syrian forces in Idlib.
On Monday, Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin tweeted:
"I wish Allah's mercy on our four soldiers who were martyred in Idlib in the regime forces' attack, condolences to their families and quick recovery to the wounded."
"This attack on the Idlib agreement was immediately retaliated" — no further elaboration given.
Along with the US, NATO, Israel, and the Saudis, Turkey is a major obstacle to restoring peace and stability in Syria.
Achieving it requires defeating jihadists they support and ending foreign occupation of Syrian territory — miles to go remaining to achieve these objectives.
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My newest book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."