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Utopia Talk / Politics / Idlib
Mon Feb 03 12:29:30
Turkey says it will act against Syrian government if Russia cannot control them

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey will not hesitate to act against Syrian forces if Russia is unable to control them, Turkey’s communication director said on Monday, after Ankara said Syrian shelling killed five of its soldiers in the northwestern Idlib region.

President Tayyip Erdogan said earlier on Monday that Turkey will continue to retaliate, adding that Ankara had told Russia to “stand aside” in the conflict. Ankara backs rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whereas Moscow supports Assad’s forces.

“The Assad regime’s attack on our forces is the latest example of its cowardly actions in northern Syria,” Fahrettin Altun said on Twitter. “If Russia is unable to control the Assad regime from targeting us, we will not hesitate to take actions against any threat, just as we did today in Idlib,” he added.


Excuse me but what is Turkey doing in Syria? Syria has the right to kill turkish soldiers who has invaded Syria. Turkey should quit whining and go home.
Mon Feb 03 12:43:11
Is this show still going on? I thought it ended, like, three seasons ago after they wrapped up that whole ISIS plot.
Mon Feb 03 13:30:20
Already hit back


Turkey will continue to retaliate against attacks on its forces in Syria’s northwest Idlib region, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Feb. 3, after six Turkish soldiers were killed and seven others were wounded in Syrian government shelling.

“Turkey has responded in kind to the attack in Idlib, and will continue to do so,” Erdoğan told reporters before departing for Ukraine.

The president said Turkish artillery hit some 46 targets in Syria.

Erdoğan stated Turkish warplanes were also involved and claimed that there were between 30 and 35 casualties on the Syrian side.

“Those who test Turkey’s determination with such vile attacks will understand their mistake,” Erdoğan said. He noted Russia was told that Ankara would not stand for any “situation where we are prevented” from responding to Syrian assaults.

“We can’t remain silent when our soldiers are being martyred,” he said.

The president said Turkey had told Russian counterparts “they need to stand aside” in the escalating conflict, in which Ankara and Moscow are back opposing sides.

Syrian regime’s forces, backed by Russian airpower, have recently made advances in Idlib.

Erdoğan said on Jan. 31 that Turkey may launch a military operation there unless the fighting is halted.

The exchange between Ankara and Damascus came hours after a large Turkish military convoy entered the northwestern province of Idlib. Turkey has reinforced Idlib, which lies just across its southern border with Syria, in a challenge to Damascus and its Russian backers.

Turkey’s Defense Ministry said the Turkish forces were sent to Idlib as reinforcement and were attacked there despite prior notification of their coordinates to the local authorities. It said Turkish forces responded to the attack, destroying targets.

Initially, four Turkish soldiers died at the scene while two others died later in hospital.

The exchange occurred near the Syrian flashpoint town of Saraqeb, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitoring group.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said Turkish military units came under fire overnight after moving within Idlib without notifying Russia, contradicting Ankara’s claim that it coordinated movements.

Defense chief heading to Syria border

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar visited the Syria border in the wake of a regime attack on Turkish troops in Idlib.

Hulusi Akar had been scheduled to accompany Erdoğan during his official visit to Ukraine. He abandoned the delegation due to the attack on Turkish troops.

Akar departed from Ankara to visit the Turkish-Syrian border.

Syrian forces now 'targets' around Idlib posts

In the meantime, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesperson Ömer Çelik said Turkey will view Syrian regime forces as "targets" around Turkish observation posts in Idlib.

"The [Syrian] regime is from now on a target for us in the region after this attack," Çelik said.

"We expect Russia not to shield the regime or protect them because after the clear attack on our armed forces, regime forces around our posts are targets," he added.

Turkey condemns regime attack

Meanwhile, Turkey's presidential spokesman condemned the attack on Turkish soldiers in Idlib.

"I wish Allah's mercy on our four soldiers who were martyred in Idlib in the regime forces' attack, condolences to their families and quick recovery to the wounded. This attack on the Idlib agreement was immediately retaliated," İbrahim Kalın said in a tweet.

Kalın added that the perpetrators of the attack will pay the price.

Turkey's communications director also condemned the attack and extended his condolences to the families of the martyrs.

Turkey will bring perpetrators to account for the “treacherous attack,” Fahrettin Altun wrote on Twitter.

Bahçeli slams Syrian regime attacks

The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli said that diplomatic and military responses are required.

“We should make the life miserable for the enemies in Idlib and the surrounding area using our political and diplomatic initiatives as well as our military deterrence to this end,” Bahçeli said in a statement.

“The security of the [TSK's] observation posts and its surroundings, must be ensured. Assad must be regretted for his bloody attack," Bahçeli said

"It is clear that Turkey is not the one who violates [cease-fire] agreement on Idlib,” Bahçeli added.

Russian, Turkish military in contact on Idlib

The Russian and Turkish militaries are in close contact over the situation in Idlib, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Feb. 3.

"Russian and Turkish military are in close contact. There has not been yet a high-level conversation [on the situation in Idlib], but there is no doubt that if the presidents deem it necessary, it can be agreed upon within a short time," Peskov told reporters in Moscow.

Idlib is the last major rebel-held stronghold in Syria's nearly nine-year war and Erdoğan accuses Russia of violating agreements to reduce the fighting in the region, a charge which Moscow denied on Jan. 31.

Turkey, which already hosts over 3.6 million refugees from Syria, fears a fresh wave of migrants from Idlib.

It has 12 military observation posts around the region, set up under a 2017 agreement with Russia and Iran. Several of them have since been surrounded by advancing regime forces.

The defense ministry had previously said Turkish forces would retaliate "in the strongest way, without hesitation" against any attack on its observation posts in Idlib by Assad's forces.

Turkey, which has a 911-kilometer (566-mile) border with Syria along its southern frontier, has 12 military observation posts in the region, under a deal with Moscow and Tehran in 2017.

The Syrian regime’s forces on Dec. 23, 2019, surrounded one of 12 Turkish observation posts in the region. After the regime’s capture of Al-Surman town, in the southeast of Idlib, the eighth observation post of Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in the village was surrounded. Another Turkish observation post in the town of Morek was also surrounded in August, leaving two TSK posts within the regime’s territory.

With the regime's capture of Maarat al-Numan town last week, a total of three Turkish observation posts were left within regime territory.
Mon Feb 03 13:42:30
lol. What nation is Idlib part of again?
large member
Mon Feb 03 17:07:39
Telling local authorities stuff does not help much during a major offensive. Turkey screwed up by not using pre-agreed channels to clear troop movements.

Casualties tell a clear story of troops on the hoof, despite Turkey trying to conflate it with an attack on a fixed site observation post.

This aint nothing.
Wed Feb 05 08:16:07
Assad must do as ordered or face the consequences.


Syrian regime forces must withdraw from the area that was designated as a de-escalation zone in Idlib province until the end of this month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has warned, signaling a new military operation if the threat against Turkey’s military posts in the area continues.

“If the Syrian regime does not retreat from Turkish observation posts in Idlib in February, Turkey will be obliged to do so itself,” Erdoğan said, addressing his party’s parliamentary group meeting on Feb. 5.

Erdoğan made this statement after he held a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on late Feb. 4 during which the two leaders discussed the Syrian army’s attack against a Turkish convoy that claimed the lives of eight Turks, seven of whom were servicemen.

“The attack on our soldiers the day before yesterday was a turning point in Syria for Turkey. It can no longer continue this way,” he said. “Turkey’s air and land forces will move freely in all operation areas [in Syria] and in Idlib, and they will conduct operations if needed,” he added amid speculation of fresh Turkish moves in northern Syria.

The new era in Idlib means a complete overhaul of Turkey’s security approach on the Syrian border and inside Syria, Erdoğan stressed, warning that any and every attack on Turkish soldiers or its allies will face retaliation, without any warning, regardless of the source of the attack.

Erdoğan recalled that Turkey, Russia and Iran had agreed to create a de-escalation zone in Idlib in 2018 by setting up observation posts under the Sochi agreement. “As the security of our troops cannot be provided [through the Sochi agreement] in Idlib, no one can object to our determinacy in protecting them.”

Message to Russia on Tel Rifat

Erdoğan also indicted to the Russian authorities that it wants Turkey’s long-standing demand of the withdrawal of the YPG troops from Tel Rifat, a strategic area linking the Afrin to Idlib provinces. The YPG troops are under the protection of the Russian military in the said area.

“The Tel Rifat region that stands as a threat to our Euphrates Shield Operation must be cleared of the terrorists and be handed to the governance of the Syrian people. It is a must for peace and comfort in the operation zone,” he stated.

He also underlined that the YPG is still active and conducting its terrorist activities in the eastern Euphrates region and Turkey will no longer tolerate them. “Since the guarantor countries in these regions [Russia and the United States] cannot stop them, it will be inevitable to act unilaterally,” he said.

Turkey has no intention to confront with no country and ally, its sole demand is to try to work to find a lasting solution to the security problems stemming from the Syrian theater, the president stated.

“We attach special importance for the continuation of our friendship and cooperation with Russia. Our sole expectation from Russia, a country with which we have deep ties on various fields, from the defense industry to energy, is to understand our sensitivities in Syria.”

Turkish, Russian teams to discuss developments

Erdoğan informed that he agreed with Putin to come together in the coming period, but until then the two countries’ delegations will hold working meetings.

A written statement from the Kremlin on the Erdoğan-Putin meeting underlined that “the sides agreed to take emergency measures, primarily at the level of the defense ministries of Russia and Turkey, to further strengthen the coordination of activities in Syria.”

Turkey won’t stay in Syria forever

Turkey conducts anti-terror operations in Syria based on 1998-dated Adana Protocol, the president said, explaining that it has no intention in staying in the territories of its neighbor forever.

“Turkey will have no business in Syria whenever a full inclusive charter is written, a government that represents the entire Syrian people and terrorists as well as other foreign forces leave the Syrian lands. No one has authority to question our presence in Syria until that day comes,” he added.
Wed Feb 05 08:29:40
^Posturing, no doubt.

At the same time, the Syrian Army should probably acclimate itself to the new reality that its zone of operations is somewhat reduced in size.
large member
Wed Feb 05 08:41:26
The Syrian Army is currently 4 kms from Idlib city. The posturing is to avoid an actual assault there soon.

A bit redundant. The regime is using a cheese slicer to whittle down Islamists (it has not attacked in the few sectors held by rebels not declared illegal by Russia).

It would not be attacking Idlib city this round in any event.
Wed Feb 05 08:41:56
Anyway, the Syrian government managed to recapture Ma'arrat al-Nu'man last week. If the Turks keep the SAA out of Saraqib though, that will basically put the entire northward offensive to an end, and keep Idlib City protected from any eastern attack.

Should be an interesting couple of weeks.
Anarchist Prime
Wed Feb 05 13:29:13
Wed Feb 05 23:30:57
large member
Thu Feb 06 01:26:14
The cheese cutter slices as it slices. Time is not really of the essence.
large member
Thu Feb 06 02:15:45
It sliced.


You can see clearly that the objective is to clear the M-5 highway between the political centre Damaskus and the old commerical centre Aleppo city.

large member
Thu Feb 06 03:06:08
Clearing the highway answers AI-UK's query btw :D.
Thu Feb 06 08:58:22
From what I'm seeing Saraqib is encircled, not taken.

Either way though, lol at Turkey. Using observations posts as area denials only works if you're willing to enforce violations. Not only has that bluff been called, but now Turkish troops are surrounded by enemy forces. Gg

Well, I guess congrats are due to the SAA for opening up the road to Idlib. That was easy.
large member
Thu Feb 06 13:19:18
It seems confirmed thas Saraquib is under SAA control.
Sat Feb 08 10:49:01
Mohammed Ghorab
More than 300 Turkish military vehicles entered the Syrian territory
More than 70 tanks
There are also cannons
#Idlib #Syria
The Anadolu Agency video


Al Masdar News claims that they intend to drive the Syrians back to the escalation line. I'll believe that when I see it...still, the SAA better watch itself.
large member
Sat Feb 08 21:16:37
ANKARA, February 8. /TASS/. Russian and Turkish officials have reached a decision on Saturday to continue negotiation over Syria’s Idlib in the coming week, the Turkish Foreign Ministry told reporters on Saturday.

"At the talks, the delegations discussed the situation in Idlib. In focus were the steps that are likely to be taken to ensure truce on the ground and to promote the political process. A decision was taken to continue the talks next week," the foreign ministry said.

The Foreign Ministry said that Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Sedat Onal headed the Turkish delegation, while Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin and Russian Presidential Special Representative for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev led the Russian delegation. The talks were also attended by high-ranking officials of the two countries’ Defense Ministries, General Staffs and intelligence services.

The two-round talks were held in the Turkish capital and lasted at least three hours.

An escalation in Idlib has prompted talks between Russian and Turkish officials. The Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier that the Russian and Turkish militaries had again attempted to declare a ceasefire, but terrorists just stepped up their attacks. As a result, Russian and Turkish military officials were killed. In response, the Syrian army launched a counterattack against extremists, seizing the town of Saraqib outside Idlib on February 5.

Idlib is the only Syrian region that has been controlled by illegal armed groups since 2012. A northern de-escalation zone was set up in Idlib in 2017 to give shelter to militants who refused to surrender arms in Eastern Ghouta and Syria’s southern regions.


Syrian troops advancing from Idlib and Aleppo meet in Tal al-Eiss — TV
As a result of the operation, governmental troops are expected to restore control over the entire 432-km Aleppo-Damascus highway

MOSCOW, February 9. /TASS/. Two separate formations of the Syrian armed forces, advancing from the governorates of Idlib and Aleppo, met late on Saturday in the Tell Iss district on the Aleppo-Damascus highway, the Beirut-based pan-Arab TV channel, Al Mayadeen, has reported.

According to Al Mayadeen, Syrian servicemen advancing from Idlib countryside drove militant groups out of 16 populated localities north of the city of Saraqib and entered the town of Tal al-Eiss. Meanwhile, another group of Syrian solders, who advanced from southwestern areas of Aleppo, also approached this district.

As a result of the operation, governmental troops are expected to restore control over the entire 432-km Aleppo-Damascus highway, a strategically important road linking the country’s north and south.

The Hama-Aleppo section of the highway, linking Damascus with industrial regions in the north and the country’s economic capital, Aleppo, remained under the control of terrorist groups from 2014.
Mon Feb 10 13:08:32
Total war is coming, the mother of all wars, Assad beware!


Five Turkish soldiers were killed and five others were injured in a Syrian regime artillery attack in Idlib province of Syria, as the Turkish army retaliated against the regime forces, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said on Feb. 10.

The attack, on a newly established Turkish military base in Taftanaz in Idlib province, happened a week after seven Turkish soldiers and one civilian contractor, working with the Turkish military, were killed by Syrian army bombardment.

Ankara said it retaliated for the latest strike.

“As a result of the intense artillery shooting by the regime on Feb. 10, 2020, five of our heroes were martyred and five others were wounded, who were among the elements sent to the region in order to prevent conflicts, to ensure our border security, to prevent migration and humanitarian tragedy,” said the Defense Ministry in a written statement.

The Turkish army responded to the targets determined in the region, said the statement.

“The necessary response was given, the targets were destroyed and the blood of our martyrs was not left on the ground. The developments are being closely monitored and necessary measures are being taken,” said the statement.

“A heinous attack occurred today in Idlib, where our military serves, pursuant to our rights under international law, to end the violence and mitigate the humanitarian crisis. I pray for our sons, who perished in the said attack and wish a speedy recovery to our wounded,” Fahrettin Altun, the presidential communications director, said on his Twitter account.

Turkey retaliated against the attack to destroy all enemy targets and avenge the fallen troops, he said. “The war criminal, who ordered today’s heinous attack, targeted the entire international community, not just Turkey.”

“The Turkish Armed Forces, who tirelessly serve the cause of peace and stability around the world, will continue to crush anyone who dares to target our flag, to reassure our friends, and to strike fear into the hearts of our enemies,” Altun noted.

As the conflict escalated in Idlib, Turkish and Russian officials met in Ankara for talks.

Turkey, which hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees, says the offensive has set off a fresh humanitarian crisis. It says it cannot absorb any more refugees and has demanded Damascus pull back in Idlib by the end of the month or face Turkish action.
large member
Mon Feb 10 13:12:14
I always get a bit suspicious when Muslim press releases claim 101 enemy killed.

But strikes at this level are hardly worrisome unless in direct support of rebel counter attacks.

The SAA advance has cost it very little compared to the casualties it used to shrug off to secure vital ground. A few score dead will not change the equation much.

Tue Feb 11 09:48:42
Big announcement tomorrow:


President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Feb. 11 vowed that the Syrian regime, which attacked Turkish troops in northwestern Syria’s Idlib province, would pay a “heavy price.”

The president also said he would announce a series of new steps on Feb. 12 that Turkey would take against Bashar al-Assad’s regime over attacks on Turkish soldiers in Idlib.

“The more they attack our soldiers, they heftier price they will pay,” he said at a ceremony.

“We gave the necessary responses to the Syrian side at the highest level. Especially in Idlib, they got what they deserved. But this is not enough, it will continue,” the president noted.
large member
Tue Feb 11 09:55:49
MOSCOW, February 11. /TASS/. The Syrian government army has gained full control of the strategically important Damascus-Aleppo highway, the Al-Hadath TV channel informed. According to the channel, the Syrian military has cleared the outposts of militants located between the cities of Hama and Aleppo.

The 432-km highway connects Damascus with industrial zones in northern Syria and the economic capital of Aleppo.

Idlib is the only Syrian region that has been controlled by illegal armed groups, including the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group (outlawed in Russia) since 2012. A northern de-escalation zone was set up in Idlib in 2017 to give shelter to militants who refused to surrender arms in Eastern Ghouta and Syria’s southern regions. The Turkish army has 12 observation outposts in the province.

On January 25, the Syrian government army began an operation with the aim to regain control over the western and southern surroundings of Aleppo. On February 5, Syrian government forces entered the town of Saraqib, an outpost of Jabhat al-Nusra in the Idlib province. Saraqib is a town of strategic importance that sits at the junction of two main roads connecting Latakia and Damascus with Aleppo.


This actually matters.
Anarchist Prime
Tue Feb 11 10:46:12
Wed Feb 12 06:56:03
Good news:


ANKARA (Reuters) - President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Turkey’s military would strike Russian-backed Syrian forces by air or ground anywhere in Syria if another Turkish soldier was hurt as the Assad government tried to regain control of Idlib province.

Erdogan said Turkey is determined to push Syrian government forces beyond Turkish observation posts in Idlib by the end this month, and he urged allied Syrian rebels not to give government forces an excuse to attack.
Fri Feb 14 08:31:40
New map!


Looks like the M5 is now (almost) entirely controlled by the Syrian government.

Based on the arrows, the SAA is currently targeting Taftanaz, al-Atarib and Haraytan. Seems to be focused on building buffers around the M5 and Aleppo's west front, and establishing new stagepoints for deeper advances into the province.

A lot of Turkish outposts are now in SAA-controlled territory lol.

Not a bad performance so far to be frank.
Fri Feb 14 08:34:26
Panaromic view of southwest Idlib City from last month:


It already looks like a war zone (though to be fair, the god-awful bunker-like architecture doesn't help).
large member
Fri Feb 14 10:36:30
I suspect the SAA and allies are doing far better than anyone expected, not least themselves.

Some of the advances seem opportunistic, not planned.
Fri Feb 14 16:25:15
Next one down


Turkish-backed rebels down Syrian helicopter in Idlib

(Reuters) - Turkish-backed Syrian rebels shot down a government helicopter west of Aleppo in Syria's northwestern Idlib region, where violence and displacement has spiked in recent weeks, Turkish and Syrian state media said on Friday.

A rebel military source and eyewitnesses told Reuters Russian jets had been targeting areas in the countryside west of Aleppo earlier on Friday, but they evacuated back to the city after the helicopter was downed.

"One of our military helicopters was hit by an enemy missile in the western countryside of Aleppo...where armed terrorist organizations supported by Turkey are deployed, and this led to the fall of the helicopter and death of its crew," Syrian state news agency SANA cited a military source as saying.
Fri Feb 14 17:09:07
Yeah, that's what happens when Erdogan gives stingers to headchoppers.

Fucking Hellfire Erdogan, yesterday
large member
Sat Feb 15 07:13:47
Its actually to SAAs advantage. It does have a shopping list with Russia. All shooting down a few combat fitted utility helicopters does is demonstrate a need for supplies of true combat helicopters.

Syria has been very good at leveraging "you don't want people to think Russian equipment is shiite (so to speak), so give us some proper stuff we probably won't lose as often.
large member
Sat Feb 15 07:14:05
large member
Sat Feb 15 16:58:21

I don't know what to say. Turkey is going to have to intervene if it wants the keep the conflict going.

The rebels are collapsing far faster than I imagined possible.

This is not SAA strength. This is rebel weakness.
Turtle Crawler
Sat Feb 15 19:31:47
I track the war progress here:


It has been quite productive recently.
Turtle Crawler
Sat Feb 15 19:32:42
One of the things the last peace agreement said would happen would the M5 highway would be opened.

Well they never did so SAA is taking it.
large member
Sun Feb 16 06:15:43
Turkey does have legitimate security concerns. Idlib is a reservation for radical rebels. Many were bussed in from along Jordan's frontier to along Turkey's as part of the process that restored regime control of Daraa.

It does not seem completely fair that the SAA close the reservation and force the radicals to flee into Turkey to do mayhem (crime would be the most innocent mayhem).
Wed Feb 19 14:57:53
Counting the hours!


Erdoğan says Syria talks with Russia unsatisfactory, operation 'matter of time'

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Feb. 19 that talks with Russia on the northwestern Syrian region of Idlib were far from meeting Turkey's demands and warned that a military operation there was a "matter of time".

"As with all [previous] operations, we say 'we could suddenly come one night.' In other words, an Idlib operation is a matter of time," Erdoğan said. He was referring to the previous three Turkish operations to northern Syria since 2016.

"We are entering the last days for the [Syrian] regime to stop its hostility in Idlib. We are making our final warnings," he added. “Turkey has made all preparations to carry out its own operation plans in Idlib."

The president's remarks came during a speech at the parliamentary group meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in capital Ankara.

Erdoğan said Turkey was determined to make Idlib a secure zone "no matter the cost," even as talks continue with Russia, which backs Syria's Bashar al-Assad's forces.

The meetings with Russia have failed to yield results, according to Erdoğan.

"We did not reach the desired results in our talks. The talks will continue, but it is true that we are far from meeting our demands at the table," he said.

Ankara is determined to transform Idlib into a safe place at any cost for the sake of both Turkey and the region's people, the president said.

Turkish and Russian officials held several rounds of talks in Ankara and Moscow. The foreign ministers Turkey and Russia also met at the weekend but failed to find a solution.

Turtle Crawler
Wed Feb 19 15:05:53
I checked the map after a few days. Huge amount of territory taken.
large member
Wed Feb 19 17:47:46
Its still just rebel weakness.

The highway is open. Aleppo airport is open. The next major change is the latakia-aleppo highway or or Idlib city.

Wed Feb 19 19:06:03
Turtle Crawler - Nice map. The Kurdish situation seems to be dumbed down, but it does a good job showing the SAA gains so far. Which are a lot.
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