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Syria: the SAA bombs the rebels in Idlib, but it is only a “local” pressing

The Syrian army (SAA) has resumed surprisingly bombing rebels and militias south of Idlib. But it is mainly about propaganda to Iran, as Zarif has just flown to Damascus

The Syrian army (SAA) has unexpectedly started bombing rebels and militias back in Idlib. In the past few hours there have been several attacks on Benin, Afes, Al-Salihiya and Maarbelet in the south of the province. The new offensive coincided with the arrival in Damascus of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who met with President Bashar Assad. The maneuvers are probably not the prelude to an invasion of land. But more than anything else they happened to the “use and consumption” of the ally. To show that the coronavirus did not stop the war on anti-government forces. Not surprisingly, there were no movements of the SAA in the area, but only shots from a distance. The incident, however, alarmed Turkey, which immediately took several drones off the ground to monitor the evolution of the situation.

Assad today has no interest in hitting militias in Idlib, as the war between HTS and the FSA is weakening Turkey. Consequently, no attacks on the M4, but only south of the Syrian province

Assad’s strategy is to maintain a sort of formal pressing on enemies in Idlib, attacking them periodically but only from a safe distance and using the SAA only to not loose the territory acquired in recent months. Damascus currently has no interest in defeating the militias. This is because a war is going on between those of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and supporters of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which is gradually weakening Turkey. In fact, HTS openly opposes the TAF-Russia joint patrols on the M4, threatening attacks if the convoys enter the Syrian province. The group is also linked to Wahhabism and is against the Muslim Brotherhood, linked to the FSA. As a result, it is doubly dangerous for Ankara. The Syrian government knows this well and voluntarily bombs only to the south, avoiding to target enemies on the M4 from Saraqeb (on the border with Aleppo).

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