Monitor: Is the Syrian army preparing for the final battle against Turkey and the HTS in Idlib?

Turkish and Syrian army forces continue to flow to Idlib, where a final battle is expected to take place in an attempt to retake it by the Syrian army.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan considers his military forces in Syria and his support for the Syrian armed opposition groups a means of pressure in shaping the Syrian end, and although he may not want to fight, he has no plans to back down or withdraw.

The Syrian forces attacked the Turkish observation points and killed the Turkish soldiers, and ignited the direct Turkish-Syrian military confrontations in January – February 2020 with losses from both sides.

A fragile cease-fire: Russian President Vladimir Putin, who supports the Syrian leadership, but is also allied with Turkey and Iran in Syria, as part of the Astana group brokered a ceasefire with Erdogan on March 5 despite the continued military build-up of Turkey and the Syrian army in Idlib, the cease-fire mostly continued.

Syrian opposition sources expect that, as a compromise, Turkey may allow Russian control or supervision of two vital main roads (M4 and M5) that pass through Idlib and are the lifeblood of the Syrian government to reach the rest of the country.

The Syrian army took control of the M5 this year, and the joint Russian-Turkish patrols along the M4 were part of the ceasefire agreement on March 5.

The formerly known Al Nusra Front (HTS) is unlikely to agree to this deal, as it will lose control of the Bab al Hawa border crossing to Turkey, from which it will earn approximately $ 4 million per month.

Turkey is trying to change the HTS, by trying to separate the moderate elements in it and reconfigure the armed groups there into a more moderate and controllable force.

However, the results are mixed so far, as Ankara is the only lifeline of the HTS, while the group faces something like the Battle of the Alamo – which took place in Mexico – in Idlib.

Warning: “Any military operation in Idlib carries many risks to the Syrian army and its allies, and could have unpredictable consequences if Turkey enters the war.

Our view: Erdogan has opened two fronts: in Idlib and through the incursion of Turkey into the northeast; This puts him in conflict with the Syrian “Kurdish” groups, as it hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees and they will return to their homes once Syria settles.

In conclusion, Turkey can make some concessions in Idlib in an attempt to show its commitment to eliminating terrorist groups, and to ease Russia’s grip in Libya amid confronting the cities of Sirte and Jafra.