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Syria, Turkey in Idlib strengthens military presence on the M4

Turkey strengthens its military presence in Idlib, trying to react to the nervousness of the militias and Russia. Deans of the TAF arrive north and south of the road

Turkey tries to react to the nervousness of the militias in Idlib and that of Russia over the failure to jointly patrol. This increasing the presence in the Syrian province. In the past few hours, the TAF have set up a new fixed observation point in the village of Al-Kafir, south of Jisr al-Shughur. This is close to the M4 and the bridge that local jihadists detonated to block transit to military convoys. Ankara’s goal is to protect the road artery and avoid new sabotages, which would put the agreement with Moscow on Syria at risk. In addition, having a stable presence in the area will allow you to have greater awareness of what is happening on the ground. At the same time, reinforcements have resumed despite the emergence of the coronavirus. There is talk of over 100 vehicles with men and equipment, arrived in al-Mastouma, also near the M4.

For Ankara a double-dipping is increasingly difficult: Erdogan must choose between the rebels or Moscow. Meanwhile, he takes time and, while parallel diplomacy works, tries to create a “safe” section on the M4

Based on how the TAF are deployed in Idlib, Turkey appears to have resigned itself to possible attacks by the rebels against joint patrols. In fact, the maps show that the TAF aim to protect the north and south axis of the section of M4 that passes through the Syrian province. Ankara’s next step could therefore be to strengthen its military presence in the Muhanbal or Arihah area. In this way, the ability of soldiers to intervene in the event of attacks by local militias would be considerably speeded up. On the other hand, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has to make a choice. Resume supporting anti-Damascus jihadists, losing Russia’s support. Or respect the agreement with Moscow, renouncing to “local partners”. For now he takes time, increasing working to secure a safe section of the road, while hoping that parallel diplomacy will bear fruit.

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