Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Opposition factions in Idlib put together for imminent Syrian authorities offensive

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Nov 17, 2020 IDLIB, Syria — Russian airstrikes accompanied by Syrian regime-led bombardment have escalated in some areas of the northwest province of Idib since early November, regardless of the cease-fire settlement signed between Russia and Turkey in March.

The escalation coincided with Turkey’s withdrawal from a few of its commentary posts in regime-controlled areas in Syria, whereas on the identical time boosting its army presence by deploying a number of army convoys to completely different areas of Idlib.

Over the previous few days, varied opposition armed factions have focused regime posts within the southern and jap countrysides of Idlib, killing a variety of Syrian military troopers and Russian troopers.

The opposition’s assault adopted statements Nov. 2 by the deputy head of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Parties on the Khmeimim air base in Latakia, Col. Alexander Grinkevich, who mentioned that militants are planning to hold out bombings within the Idlib space to retaliate towards the Syrian military focusing on populated areas.

“According to available information the militants are planning to use an unmanned aerial vehicle to strike at civilian infrastructure in the area of ​​the Nakhlaya settlement. The militants intend to post a video recording of the consequences of the staged strike on their propaganda resources on the internet, accusing the Syrian government forces and the Russian Aerospace Forces,” Grinkevich mentioned. Meanwhile, the Russian bombing focused the cities and villages of Abedeta, al-Bara and Ehsim within the Jabal Zawiya space in southern Idlib.

The Response Coordination Group, a humanitarian nongovernmental group working in Idlib, documented violations by the Syrian regime and Russia between Oct. 1 and Nov. 8, recording 314 floor targets, 5 airstrikes and 4 drone strikes, and reporting about 25 civilian casualties, which embody 12 males, two girls, seven kids and 4 humanitarian staff. 

The group additionally documented the focusing on of services and infrastructure, together with instructional services, in style markets, civil protection facilities and repair services.

On Oct. 26, Russia focused a camp for the Sham Legion, which is near Turkey, killing dozens of its members. 

Brig. Gen. Ahmad Rahhal, a army and strategic analyst and commander who defected from the Syrian regime’s military and joined the Free Syrian Army (FSA), presently residing in Turkey, advised Al-Monitor, “The Russians in Syria have announced since [their intervention in the war in 2015] that they will place all areas under Bashar al-Assad’s control again. This is Russia’s broad objective.”

He mentioned, “We have seen the [Russians] take control of large areas that were held by the Syrian opposition; they [Russians] are now gradually working to control the remaining areas under the opposition’s control, and their current goal is to capture the strategic city of Arihah and to make the M4 highway the separating line with Turkey and the opposition. This means they are planning to take control of Jabal Zawiya, Jabal al-Arbaeen and Jabal Shashabo.”

Rahhal famous, “[The Russians] might exploit the US’ preoccupation with the presidential elections and continue the targeting of the areas of Sarjah and Arihah. They do not want to storm Jabal Zawiya directly, so they will try to circumvent it from Maarat al-Numan to Jabal Arbaeen in Arihah, connect it with Saraqib, then reach the city of Muhambal, and thus control the M4 highway.” He added, “The repeated Russian bombings are a prelude to waging a battle in the M4 axes. The current Russian-Turkish dispute broke out after Russia [reportedly] asked Turkey to withdraw from its posts [in Morek and Sher Maghar] north of the M4 highway. But instead Turkey set up new posts [including in Qawqafin] south of the M4 highway and boosted its military presence elsewhere, which angered Russia. Besides, the Turks asked [according to information obtained by opposition circles in Idlib] the Russians to pressure the regime to stop its violations, but Russia rejected the demand.” Capt. Naji Abu Hudeifa, spokesman for the National Liberation Front affiliated with the FSA, advised Al-Monitor, “This escalation is old news. Russia has always targeted these areas despite the cease-fire agreement. It has not abided by this agreement and is trying to sabotage it. We — as revolutionary factions — respond to these violations, and this is our right because we are being attacked by the regime and Russia. We are preparing for the possibility of an upcoming battle that the regime may wage with Russia’s support.” Abu Khaled al-Shami, army spokesman for Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, advised Al-Monitor, “Russia and the regime almost bomb the area daily, targeting populated areas [with the aim to] force the rebellious people to succumb. They targeted Idlib and Arihah a few days ago, killing innocent children who were on their way to school. It is no more than revenge against the innocents who refused to live under Assad’s control, and the Syrian regime classifies civilians in the areas under [the opposition’s control] as terrorists.” Shami mentioned, “We are conducting military preparations daily and studying all possible scenarios.” He concluded that the Syrian regime continues to ship army reinforcements to the Idlib fronts regardless of the battle it’s presently waging towards the Islamic State in jap Syria. “Several civilians have also signed one-year contracts to fight with the Assad militias in return for a salary,” Shami added.

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