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Al-Qaeda’s Air Force? Erdogan Protecting HTS in Idlib, Threatens to Attack Advancing Syrian Army

Over the last few months, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its Russian allies have been advancing into the heart of Idlib province – the last remaining terrorist stronghold in Syria. Not everyone is happy about the effort by Damascus to retake is own territorial areas in the north, not least of all Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is now threatening the SAA and its allies with military force if they continue with operations to dislodge Turkish and US-backed terrorist forces currently holed up in Idlib, and neighboring Afrin.

The stakes increased over the last 24 hours, after Turkish claimed that the SAA had killed 6 of its ‘soldiers’ and injured many others, after coming under heavy fire from the SAA. This incident comes after reports of a large Turkish military convoy which had entered Idlib via the “Kafr Loosen” crossing, supposedly to help ‘monitor a ceasefire’ from one of its numerous (and increasingly notorious) “observation posts” which are dotted conspicuously in parallel to positions held by terrorist group Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Qaeda in Syria). 

According to the Russian military, Turkey failed to notify Russia and Syria through proper channels about its convoy movements in Syria’s Idlib governorate, causing the Turkish vehicles to be hit by SAA shells.

‘Al-Qaeda’s Air Force’ over Syria

The Turkish Ministry of Defense has issued a statement today claiming that its forces came under heavy artillery fire in the northern Syria, and that its forces have since retaliated by attacking ‘unspecified’ SAA targets in the area. Thus far, these reports are unconfirmed. If true, then NATO-member Turkey is now performing the function of al-Qaeda’s Air Force over Syria.

Sultanism: Erdogan has regional ambitions to reestablish Turkey as an imperial player.

Under the Astana Peace Process, stakeholders Russia, Turkey and Iran all agreed to a designated “de-escalation zone” in Idlib in order to calm down fighting in the region and help to deal with the movement of refugees and IDP’s (internally displace persons). Unfortunately, Turkish and US-backed terrorist forces have conveniently gamed the de-escalation zones in order to attack Syrian government forces and maintain an air of destablization, which has kept the status quo of terrorist occupation in lace. Turkey is clearly on board with this alternative agenda and is supporting HTS and other terrorists factions where it can.

Strangely, Turkey is still claiming dominion over sovereign Syrian territory, now erroneously claiming that advances by the SAA in its own country are going to cause an influx of refugees into Turkey and therefore any advances by Syria to retake its own land must cease in order to “save the refugees.” Clearly, this is a well-worn ploy by now, used ad nauseum by both Turkey and the US and its coalition partners – in order to keep Syria from liberating the entirety of its country.

One of the main problems with Turkey’s story is that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to tell who and who isn’t part of Turkey’s ever-changing military forces. Recently, Ankara has officially absorbed the former Free Syria Army (FSA) under its military wing, but to make matters more confusing, this new Turkey-based division (comprised mainly of western and gulf-backed terrorist fighters) has been misleadingly named The Syrian National Army (SNA), presumably to represent a military wing of the Syrian opposition in exile currently based in Istanbul. As 21WIRE revealed in 2019, this new SNA has numerous ISIS and al Qaeda in its ranks.

Accusation of its terrorist deployments have also emerged in Libya, where Turkey is backing the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord and has sent mercenary ‘troops’ (former FSA terrorists, now under the SNA banner) to Libya support to help repel an offensive led by Gen. Khalifa Haftar in January.

Undoubtedly, Turkey’s increasing use of terrorist brigades is damaging its legitimacy as a NATO member.

Questions About Turkey’s Supposed ‘Retaliation’ Against SAA in Idlib

Soon after last night’s altercation, western mainstream media reported that 13 Syrian troops were killed by Turkey, while Erdogan himself released announcements claiming his forces had killed some 30 or more Syrian Army soldiers in retaliatory air and artillery strikes against SAA positions. However, both Syria and Russian officials have so far reported that no such Turkish response took place. Syria News reports:

“The Turkish ministry, like its president, lied to their people by adding: the Turkish forces responded to the attack and destroyed ‘enemy targets’ in Idlib, claiming that the Syrian forces carried out the attack despite being informed beforehand of the position of the Turkish forces.

(…) The Turkish madman criminally announced that his regime forces will remain on the Syrian territories and lied that they have retaliated against the Syrian Army killing 30 soldiers. Erdogan added that his fighter jets bombed Syrian posts, claims fake verified by Erdogan and his propaganda machine no other source about any Turkish response.

The only response was the Turkish war ministry complaining to the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria, which in turn replied they had no advanced information about Turkish troops entering Syria, not coordinated with them, and they have not recorded any Turkish retaliation and definitely no Turkish fighter jets breaching Syria’s air space.”

The ambiguity in Turkey’s reporting shows that Ankara is now struggling in the public relations war, as its international reputation continues to come under fire.

For the last few years, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has consistently vowed that, “Every inch of Syria will be liberated.”

The question now remains: have Ankara and Washington been listening?

READ MORE SYRIA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Syria Files




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