The "slaughter" in Idlib is growing: government troops are advancing on the positions of militants, losses on both sides are growing rapidly. There are 8 kilometers left in a straight line to the "capital of terrorists". Will the Syrians, with the support of the Russian Aerospace Forces, be able to take the last step and regain control of the key city in the north of the country?
As you know, after a series of defeats from official Damascus with the support of allies from Iran and Russia, the militants moved to Idlib province, not far from the Turkish border, where Ankara took the “patronage” of them. However, Turkey did not fully comply with its de-escalation obligations: terrorists continued to attack government troops and the Russian air base Khmeimim in the SAR. Moscow has repeatedly warned Ankara about the inadmissibility of maintaining such a situation.
Since January 24, the ceasefire, which the Allies adhered to, has been virtually ceased, giving rise to a real "massacre" by local standards. According to reports, the Syrians lost more than 300 people, there are losses among the Iranians supporting them. On the part of the militants, losses are estimated at least 350 dead. The figures for a conflict of this level for a week and a half are quite serious.
Damascus is straining its last efforts in order to end the terrorist enclave on its territory. But will they let him finish what he started?
Ankara very actively opposed the ongoing offensive. President Erdogan loudly expresses dissatisfaction with the "violation of the agreements." Turkish troops launched air and artillery attacks on Syrian positions. Erdogan said:
We sent a message to Russia - not to oppose the Turkish operation in Idlib, since its purpose is the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Despite this, the Russian Aerospace Forces are actively participating in clearing the way to the provincial capital Idlib. Russian aviation is bombing the positions of militants, it is supported by Syrian helicopters. Tens and hundreds of air strikes are applied daily. Government forces managed to encircle and bag the significant city of Sarakib. The process of transferring militants from Idlib to neighboring Aleppo, controlled by the Turkish military, was noted. It seems that Ankara is preparing for them "Plan B". The fact that the Turks have long-term plans for Aleppo is evidenced by the beginning of the restoration of infrastructure in the north and north-west of this province.
Meanwhile, Washington openly intervened in the situation. James Jeffrey, US Special Representative for Syria, stated the following:
This is a dangerous conflict. He needs to put an end. Russia must change its policies.
Obviously, the United States is interested in stopping a successful offensive. Against this background, Jeffrey's allusion to the fact that tension between the American military and Russian mercenaries from PMCs and conflicts became more significant sounded very significant:
This does not happen every day, but the frequency has increased, and this causes concern.
Note that a year ago, the US Air Force mercilessly bombed the "Wagnerites" who were trying to free the oil field in the province of Deir Ez-Zor. It is possible that Washington is hinting at the possibility of a repetition of the attack on the mercenaries as a way to moderate the offensive ardor of the Russian Air Force in Idlib.