Another observation post was under heavy shelling.
Syrians continue their offensive in the northwestern part of their republic. After the success in Khan Sheikhun, the government forces did not stop the operation and continued to quickly return to the power of Damascus the territories that had been lost for a long time. In recent days, special activity has been observed slightly west of Khan Sheikhun – almost in the northernmost part of the Hama province. Here, the Asadites came close to the next Turkish observation post – point number 10.
So far, there is a small area between the front line and the position of foreign forces controlled by the local opposition, but this does not seem to be for long. Now Damascus, together with Russia and other allies, is actively bombarding the territory. This forces the militants to leave their positions – at least there is information about the retreat of part of their forces. As a result, point No. 10 gets in the way of the liberators. One could not have to worry about his fate – most likely, the Asadites would simply bypass him from two sides, as they did with the Turkish post in the Murek region, which is slightly south of Khan Sheikhun. But there is one caveat.
In recent days, a point in Hama has been attacked by air. And this is not a one-time episode – for several days shells fly here. It’s hard to say who is responsible for this. The most popular version – the Syrian Arab army is behind the attacks. Everything seems to be logical here – some of the most well-organized opposition groups are hiding next to the point, therefore, Damascus wants, by all means, to destroy them first. And by accident or because of the proximity of the location, Turks may also suffer. Moreover, earlier such accidents took place.
The second version – the attacks are organized by the Russian contingent in Syria. Russian military is now really very active in the northwest of the SAR. Departures take place almost daily, and there are no useless ones among them – necessarily some fortifications or militant depots explode. We can say that it was thanks to Russian specialists that the Syrians were finally able to make progress in the confrontation with the separatists. Before our Air Forces were actively involved in the operation, the Syrian Arab army for several months tried unsuccessfully to advance deep into enemy territories. Working in such a busy schedule, by chance, you can make a mistake. As mentioned above, entire groups of militants are actually hiding behind Turkish observation posts. As can be seen, this does not give them absolute immunity. Nevertheless, this is Syrian land, and the presence of the Turks does not cancel the need to restore the territorial integrity of the Arab Republic.
Of course, Moscow wants a good relationship with Ankara and in this regard is even very successful, as evidenced by the visit of the Turkish president to the air show, where he was walking with Putin, but now the release of Idlib is a priority. So Erdogan will have to endure. But given the high level of skill of Russian pilots, it is difficult to imagine that they, knowing exactly the location of the Turks, would have struck at this very observation post. Even by mistake. The probability that the equipment failed and the rocket spontaneously fired is higher. However, we already had similar situations with the Turks. In 2017, almost immediately after Putin and Erdogan managed to overcome the crisis with the downed Su-24, the Russian air forces attacked the Turks near the Syrian city of al-Bab. Then three soldiers died, and another eleven were seriously injured.
There is also a third option that the Russian military expert Alexei Leonkov offers. According to him, the Turkish military could be attacked by fighters of the armed opposition or terrorists.
- Yes, there was an episode with the Turks. Even at that time, when we actively fought with the Islamic state. Then the Turkish military occupied a certain building, which the terrorists had previously held. Our military received information from intelligence that militants are still there. The attack was carried out. But there was a problem in the lack of data – Ankara did not inform that its soldiers had driven the terrorists out of the building. It was the so-called friendly fire. When the situation was sorted out, it became clear to everyone that the Turks themselves were to blame. Now the situation is different. The level of coordination is much higher. Our side requires the Turks to constantly transmit data about their locations. The interaction is carried out, so a random hit is almost impossible. Any movement of the Turkish military in the Idlib zone is coordinated with the Russian side in real time, it can be said.
And now the Turks are in a difficult situation – they are forced to withdraw forces from certain areas. Nobody wants to lose soldiers. This is bad, including for a political image.
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– Then, perhaps, the Syrian Arab army fired at the Turkish observation post?
- No, now the Syrians are very careful. Our military worked well on them. In fact, now the Russian Federation and Damascus are doing jewelry work – this is done in order to minimize casualties among the civilian population. This, by the way, may be one of the reasons why the release of Idlib will be a little delayed. The only party who could attack the Turks are the Idlib militants. The latter are now using any means to embroil Moscow and Ankara. Provocations, as you can see, are also moving.