What will give Assad’s army control over Khan Sheikhun?

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (VOP TODAY NEWS) — The Syrian Arab Army, with the support of Russian aviation, surrounded the city of Khan Sheikhun, the largest stronghold of militants in the south of Idlib province.

This is the result of a large-scale military operation in Damascus in response to a violation of the ceasefire. The Syrian army took control of the Damascus-Aleppo highway, cutting off terrorists from supplies. About what happened and how events will develop further, – in the material of RIA.

Broken Truce

A ceasefire in the province of Idlib was announced on August 2. However, the militants of the Khayyat Tahrir al-Sham coalition ignored this. Already on August 4, the Russian military recorded 20 shelling settlements in the Idlib de-escalation zone. In response, on August 5, the command of the Syrian Armed Forces resumed operations against terrorists.

On August 7, the Syrian army regained control of the city of Arbain in the northwest bordering the Idlib province of Hama and eliminated 45 militants. Major General Alexei Bakin, head of the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria, noted a sharp aggravation in the Idlibian de-escalation zone, reporting 42 shellings per day by illegal armed groups. The next day, two dead and 13 Syrian troops were injured from gunfire.

On August 9, terrorists launched a counterattack in Idlib province, attacking positions of government forces in the area of ​​Abu Dali. Ten Syrian soldiers were killed, more than 20 people were injured. Having retreated, the militants fired on the outskirts of the city from multiple launch rocket systems. On August 10, the Syrian army liberated several villages from the militants on the border of the provinces of Hama and Idlib, knocking out Jebhat-en-Nusra terrorists. The military took Al-Hubayt, who occupies a strategic position in southern Idlib, into the ring.

Major General Bakin informed that the militants continued to build up forces in the southern part of the Idlib de-escalation zone. The terrorists deployed about 470 fighters and military equipment there. The al-Watan newspaper reported on August 11 that the Syrian army had liberated the city of al-Hubayt, inflicting significant damage on technology and manpower to Jebhat al-Nusra militants. The remnants of the terrorists retreated to Khan Sheikhun. In two days of fighting, 23 Syrian troops were killed.

Turkish factor

SAA continued its movement towards Khan Sheikhun. On August 14, the army took control of the villages of Kafr Ain and Aas, as well as Tell Aas hill in the south of Idlib province east of the city of al-Hubayt. On this day, the militants managed to bring down the Syrian Air Force fighter-bomber in Idlib. The pilot catapulted, he was captured. On August 16, the army liberated four more villages in the south of the province.

Soon, the SAA completed the encirclement of Khan Sheikhun. On August 19, a convoy of Turkish armored vehicles crossed the Syrian border and advanced towards the besieged city – probably to help Ankara-controlled groups in the province. A military convoy attacked the Syrian Air Force. The column stopped.

“Turkey has its own interests in the Syrian conflict, in particular in the Idlib zone,” Boris Dolgov, senior researcher at the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, explained to RIA Novosti. “Turkey still does not fully comply with the Sochi memorandum. The Turks continue to operate in “their own interests in the Idlib zone. And their interests are the preservation of armed Islamist groups, which Ankara considers moderate and which rely on the support of Turkey.”

The successes of the Syrian Arab army have already nervously reacted to the United States. Morgan Ortagus, State Department spokeswoman, said Tuesday that Bashar al-Assad’s government and its allies should return to a ceasefire in Idlib.

“Today’s unacceptable air strike on the Turkish convoy followed ongoing brutal attacks on civilians, humanitarian workers and infrastructure. We condemn this violence and it must be stopped,” Ortagus emphasized.

Victory coming soon?

The capture of Khan Sheikhun will seriously strengthen the position of the Syrian Arab army in the south of Idlib province. This will allow the militants to be locked in a cauldron in the neighboring settlements of Latamna, Murek and Kafr Zeit and will create the prerequisites for a further offensive into the last governorate in Syria, which remains under the control of terrorists.

“Today, Syria is building its future with hope, but terrorist organizations that are banned in many countries of the world continue to not only exist there, but also to resist,” said Andrei Koshkin, head of the Plekhanov Russian Political Science and Sociology department, on Sputnik news agency. Government forces of the SAR are quite successfully clearing the territory, and by now they are blocking many groups, cutting off their supply routes for ammunition, depriving them of means of subsistence. I think this is an omen of victory about the hour when government troops can completely clear the territory of Syria from terrorists.”

It is worth noting that in the province of Idlib, many immigrants from the former republics of the USSR and some Russian regions are fighting on the side of the militants. To prevent them from returning home after the victory of the SAA is an important task for Russia.

The possibility of their transfer to other regions of the world, President Vladimir Putin, in anticipation of a meeting with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, called a great danger.


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