The Syrian army begins the offensive against the militias south of Idlib

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The Syrian army (SAA) offensive against the militias south of Idlib begins. The objective is to take the Basrah district. After the aerial reconnaissance, the bombings on the rebel positions start. Preparations continue by the Syrian army (SAA) to launch a land breakout south of Idlib. After an intense aerial reconnaissance campaign, also thanks to the support of Russia, Damascus has started a series of targeted bombings on the rebel positions detected previously. In particular, in Fatira, Blion, and KaferAueid.

The goal is to weaken the defenses of the militias and limit their freedom of movement in the area. That is in anticipation of the soldiers’ maneuvers. Their target is to conquer Barah, a strategic zone as the roads that lead from the province to Aleppo and the rest of the Middle Eastern country pass through it. The attacks, however, coincided with the arrival from KafrLoosin of a Turkish military convoy, which took up position in the new garrison in Jabal Al-Zawiya.

Meanwhile, Turkey faces an unexpected problem: the Ansar Abu Bakr Brigade, which has declared war on the TAF in the de-escalation zone. Ankara is trying to control the upcoming Syrian army offensive in Idlib and prevent soldiers from going too far north towards the M4. However, he finds himself with a new problem to manage in the Syrian province: the Ansar Abu Bakr Brigade. That attacked a treacherous Turk near the village of Salat Zhor, in the western area of the quadrant.

The group claimed the action with a message stating that it is not affiliated with any entity in the country and that it will continue to work against the presence of TAFs in the de-escalation zone. Observers believe that Damascus is behind it, interested in disturbing actions of the enemy, so that it does not interfere too much in the ongoing operation to take Barah.

The de-escalation zones were four ceasefire areas established in Syria to halt the bitter fighting between Syrian government forces and armed rebels in western and southern Syria. The frame for the de-escalation zones was accepted as a result of the Astana talks between Russia, Iran, and Turkey, in May 2017 while the final demarcation of the areas was finished in June 2017.

The de-escalation zones were set up in the greater Idlib province, in Rastan poke in the Homs governorate, eastern Ghouta, including the Damascus countryside, and southern Syria, parts of Daraa and Quinetra governorates under insurgent control. The de-escalation zones notably excluded the American-controlled at-Tanf pocket, the areas controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces in north and eastern Syria, and the Turkish-controlled zones in the north.

The de-escalation areas are demarked by the presence of Turkish, Iranian, and Russian checkpoints. On the opposing sides, the line separating government forces from armed rebel forces. The Russian military police would work with Turkish military forces in these safe zones and not let any Syrian Arab Army formations enter to avoid any incitement, which could turn into escalation.

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