Over the past few days, the Turkish army started sending equipment and arms to the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib. The new Turkish weapons supplies to the takfiri militias is coming as Idlib is recognized as the world's largest stronghold of the terrorists.
AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): Over the past few days, the Turkish army started sending equipment and arms to the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib. The new Turkish weapons supplies to the takfiri militias is coming as Idlib is recognized as the world's largest stronghold of the terrorists.
According to Syrian sources, dozens of trucks of various weapons and logistics supplies, including heavy artillery batteries, anti-tank ammunition and advanced personnel carriers and concrete blocks, passed through the Bab Al-Hawa border crossing and delivered their loads to terrorist groups in Idlib.
But what is Ankara seeking behind new arms supplies to Idlib-based terrorist militants?
Russia-US discontented with Turkish incursions in Syria's north
Undoubtedly, one of Turkey's primary goals behind sending weapons to northern Syria is to cover up its recent failure to attack new areas in northern Syria. In the past few months, there have been rumors of imminent new round of Turkish military action in areas of Tal Rifat, Sri Kani, and Tel Abyad, and the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised the issue at a G20 summit with US President Joe Biden. Of course, the plan met Washington's outspoken opposition. In addition, Moscow has stated its opposition to any new Turkish attack on areas controlled by the Kurdish-majority Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Even more so, US fighter jets recently attacked positions of Al-Qaeda-affiliated Turkish-backed Tahrir Al-Sham forces in Idlib province under the pretext of fighting terrorism, sending a clear message to Erdogan and Ankara that any new operation in northern Syria is unacceptable.
However, with the fresh weapons supplies to Idlib, it is possible that, first, Ankara wants to realize its grounded plans through its militant proxies, and second mend its damaged political and military prestige among other actors and also among its terrorist loyalists, telling that its plans for powerful military presence in Syria is unwavering.
Seeking to save Idlib as its main power base in Syrian battleground equations
As a result of the political, diplomatic and field equations of Syria over the past two years, it became clear for Ankara that it will have no place in Syria's future. The standards of international law and the balance of power in West Asia and North Africa confirm the fact that the return of the territories occupied by Turkey and its proxies to the Syrian central government is unavoidable. In such a situation, Turkey intends to direct the Syrian field equations in line with its objectives by sending new weapons and forces to Idlib province.
The reality is that Ankara and other Syrian actors acknowledge that any major conflict in Idlib province, given the large population and the significant presence of takfiri groups, could trigger a major humanitarian crisis. Therefore, regional and international powers are increasingly seeking to resolve the Idlib crisis through diplomacy and negotiations far from war. Aware of this, Turkey is now trying to maintain its trump card in the Syrian equations by strengthening the terrorist groups it supports in Idlib.
Boosting position of militants
Over the past few months, there have been various reports of takfiri groups' infighting in Idlib. In mid-November, large numbers of Takfiri militants were killed or wounded after exchange of fire in the northern provinces of Hasakah and Raqqa. According to reports, at that time, bloody internal clashes took place between militants affiliated with the Hamza Division, an armed faction affiliated with Free Syrian Army (FSA) and trained by the US nd Turkey, on the outskirts of Ras al-Ain town of Hasakah in the northeast.
Also, reports suggested that over the past few months, clashes broke out between elements from Ahrar Al-Sharqia and Levant Legion, both backed by Turkey, in Ain Issa, Al-Shirkarak, and Tell Hammam et-Turkmen in Raqqa. The new weapons supplies seem to be aimed at bolstering the Turkish position in Idlib, in addition to preventing clashes among Ankara-aligned takfiri groups and safeguarding their positions against any offensives by possible Syrian army and its allies. Odds are Turkey will deliver the arms to groups that were in a weak position in recent infightings.