IDLIB, SYRIA – In the Idlib de-escalation zone, which includes parts of the provinces of Idlib, Hama and Aleppo, clashes have broken out between radical Islamists and local supporters of reconciliation with the Syrian government.
This comes on the heels of the Al-Nusra forces in the area reportedly refusing Ankara’s ultimatum to join the Turkish-formed “Syrian Army of the North” or surrender amidst growing anticipation of an impending Syrian government offensive.
Some Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham terrorists (formerly Jebat Al-Nusra) and pro-Turkish groups have apparently joined in launching a crackdown on other terrorists and leaders of Syrian opposition forces deemed suspect of willing to reconcile with Damascus following the examples of East Ghouta, Daraa, Quneitra, Homs, Eastern Kalamoun, etc.
Militants of the Turkish-created coalition of bands, the so-called”National Liberation Front”, have arrested at least 45 members of opposition factions on suspicions that they harbor intentions to enter into dialogue with Damascus in Hama province.
According to RusVesna reports, iin the village of Hazarin in Idlib, protests under opposition banners are ongoing, and local residents have been out burning tires and demanding the release of the head of the local military council, a former Colonel of the Syrian Arab Army turned “Free Syrian Army” field commander, Ahmad al-Kanata, who has now been kidnapped by Tahrir al-Sham for contact with Russian forces and the Syrian government on reconciliation procedures.
These chaotic clashes and shifting positions are happening amidst growing reports that the Syrian Army has been sending military equipment and ammunition to the borders of the Idlib province, and is preparing for a full-scale operation to clear the area of terrorists.
Tellingly enough, an anonymous source inside the Syrian Arab Army recently commented on these anticipations: “At the moment, the army has enough forces to liberate the province of Idlib, which will be the key event to end the eight-year war in the country. The terrorists themselves have signed their death sentence.”