BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:05 A.M.) – A large number of Syrian Arab Army (SAA) soldiers were redeployed to the Hama and Idlib governorates on Tuesday as the military makes new preparations for their wide-scale offensive in northwestern Syria.
Speaking to Al-Masdar from the Hama Governorate, a military source from the Syrian Army said their forces have nearly doubled in the last few days as dozens of units redeploy to the demilitarized zone that was established on September 17th in Sochi.
The source says the first wave of the operation will be to expel the rebels and jihadists from the demilitarized zone, which was supposed to happen in October when Turkey vowed to oversee the situation there.
However, Turkey has used the Sochi Agreement to redeploy the National Liberation Front (NLF) fighters to the front-lines with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria.
The group that took over the NLF’s posts in the Idlib, Latakia, Aleppo, and Hama governorates were the the jihadists from Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham, who have refused to acknowledge the cessation of hostilities agreement.
Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham is the jihadist group that is mostly in control of the Idlib Governorate; they have often been used by Turkey to confront the Syrian Arab Army and their allies.
Turkey has setup 12 ‘observation’ posts in northwestern Syria to monitor the demilitarized zone; however, their forces have done little to stop the hostilities and instead, are used to block the Syrian military’s advances into Idlib.
While Turkey might oppose this upcoming offensive, their main focus at this time is the implementation of their own safe-zone in the northern part of the country.
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Furthermore, Turkey will have to deal with their Russian partners, who have also had enough of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham and their daily attacks.
It is important to point out that this is not the first time that the Syrian military has amassed troops in northwestern Syria; however, this time, it appears this future operation has the green light from the Russian military.
Please note: The header photo is a stock image from 2018