New Turkish military bases in Idlib.
The Syrian Human Rights Observatory confirmed today, that the Turkish forces have established three new military points in Idlib, in Badama, Al-Najiya and Al-Zainiya, west of the city of Jisr Al-Shughour, south of the “Aleppo-Latakia” highway known as “M4”.
On Sunday, the Turkish forces established two military points in the villages of Mushairefah and Tal Khattab near the administrative borders with Hama Governorate, south of Jisr Al-Shughour. This brings the number of Turkish points in the “de-escalation” zone to 49.
The Russian Defense Ministry announced in a statement that Russia and Turkey were forced to reduce their second joint patrol in the Syrian Idlib region, due to security concerns. The patrol was to cover the M4 motorway.
Their first joint patrol was cut back earlier this month because of what Moscow called “provocations of the militants.”
Ankara announced last Thursday, the killing of two Turkish soldiers in Idlib governorate in northwest Syria, in its first losses since a ceasefire agreement entered into force in the region.
The Turkish authorities have not clarified the circumstances of the two soldiers’ deaths. However, the Syrian Observatory Human Rights reported that “two explosive devices have exploded in a Turkish forces’ military convoy while passing on the international road M4”.
The soldiers’ killing is the first loss that Turkish forces had in Idlib since the ceasefire agreement.
As a result of that agreement, a large-scale offensive of the regime forces with Russian support against areas controlled by the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham (formerly the al-Nusra Front) and less influential opposition factions, with Turkish control posts in Idlib, was halted.
The agreement stipulated the conduct of joint Russian-Turkish patrols over a wide distance in the”M4″ international roads’ vicinity that links the coastal province of Lattakia to the city of Aleppo, through Idlib governorate. The first patrol was conducted on Sunday.
Since the agreement began, Idlib governorate has witnessed relative calm, with limited violations. The Syrian Observatory reported last Tuesday that clashes had killed four members of the regime forces, as well as an element of the opposition factions.
The attack started by the regime forces with Russian support since the beginning of last December in Idlib caused the worst humanitarian disaster since the outbreak of the conflict in Syria nine years ago, with the displacement of about one million people according to the United Nations. The bombing killed about 500 civilians, according to the observatory.