Idlib Now in Doubt?

We never would have expected for the SAA to move both of it best assault divisions to South Idlib and leave the M5 highway in the hands of second tier troops


Gains and setbacks of the Syrian Army in greater Idlib, February 23-27, 2020 map 

…from Southfront

[ Editor’s Note: We are now several days into major counter attacks by jihadi and Turkish backed forces on the key Saraqeb City M5 highway junction with the road now cut and the city presumably taken. There has not been any Syrian video footage.

We never would have expected for the SAA to move both of it best assault divisions to South Idlib and leave the M5 highway in the hands of second tier troops, but apparently it did. And despite this critical move to break the hard fought for road connection with Aleppo, we have not seen any “rescue forces” from the Southern advance redeployed to face off the turn of events around Saraqeb.

Could this be a trap set by the Syrians draw this Turkish-jihadi advance to the east and then annihilate it? The SAA has never been a big gambler, so that would be a surprise.

We have also had total silence on the Aleppo front as to its manpower combat forces. With the Turks having moved huge amounts of equipment into Idlib, they can attack wherever they want.

Sustaining an attack we had though would not be possible under the strong artillery SAA support and the combat air cover. But alas, it may be that they cannot be everywhere at once. Turkey can afford to fight to the last jihadi, if that would cripple the SAA combat strengthJim W. Dean ]

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– First published … February 27, 2020

Since February 25, Turkish troops and their friends from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and other al-Qaeda-affilated groups have recaptured the towns of Nayrab and Saraqib in eastern Idlib cutting off the M5 highway in this point. At the sane tine, they have lost a large chunk of the area in southern Idlib.


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  1. I believe the Syrian command has gambled this time. The most constant problem the SAA has had to deal with, taking their country back, is civilians being used as human shields. They’ve learnt to grind it with minimal civilian casualties and they’ve played it safe all the way to Idlib. What’s different this time is that the jihadists are incredibly well dug in and while they’re going to lose, civilians may suffer a lot. The SAA has the strategic depth now to set an encirclement trap and I think the calculus is that there will be less civilian casualties if the insurgents are drawn out from their defensive positions. But they won’t be drawn out unless they are offered something juicy. Saraqib seems to be that offer and, tactically, taking it must look very good. That’s my take…

  2. Reading the latest that thank God the SAA commander’s have rectified this problem and has moved reinforcements into the area of saraqib including the tigers and the SAF and ruAF have started bombing Turkish observation posts. I just read upwards of 30 Turkish soldiers have been killed.

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