Turkish military operation in Idlib Governorate

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Turkish military operation in Idlib Governorate
Part of the Turkish involvement in the Syrian Civil War, and the Russia–Turkey proxy conflict
Syria Idlib July 2020.svg
Turkish flags represent Turkish observation posts and other military installations as of 3 March 2020
Date7 October 2017[1] – present
(2 years, 9 months and 4 weeks)
Location
Result

Ongoing

  • Turkish Armed Forces establish 65 military bases and observation points as of July 2020.[2][3]
  • 13 Turkish observation posts encircled by the Syrian Army as of July 2020
Belligerents
 Turkey
Syrian National Army
Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (sometimes)

 Syria

 Hezbollah

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham

Rouse the Believers Operations Room
Strength
Turkey 11,000—20,000[3][4] SyriaHezbollah Unknown Unknown
Casualties and losses
Turkey 69–83 killed (67–81 soldiers, 2 civilian contractors)[5][6][7][note 1]
Unknown
SyriaHezbollah +197 killed[8] Unknown

The Turkish military operation in Idlib Governorate (Turkish: İdlib Harekâtı), also described as Idlib De-escalation Control Force activities[9] (Turkish: İdlib Gerginliği Azaltma Kontrol Gücü faaliyetleri), is an operation by the Turkish Armed Forces which started in October 2017, following the earlier Operation Euphrates Shield. It is the third operation of the Turkish occupation of northern Syria, following Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Shah Euphrates.

Background[edit]

The operation was launched following the 2017 Astana agreement and subsequent Sochi agreement between Turkey, Russia and Iran. Among other things, the two agreements contained provisions for the Turkish Armed Forces to set up and maintain 12 observation posts within rebel-held territories in the Idlib Governorate.[10]

List of observation posts[edit]

The following is a non-exhaustive list of observation posts and other military installations of the Turkish Armed Forces in Idlib:[11][12][13][a]

Location Order of Construction Date of Construction Number designation per Turkish Army Date of encirclement by SAA
Salva village near Al-Dana 1 13 October 2017 No. 1
Samaan village near Darat Izza 2 23 October 2017 No. 2
Aquil Mountain near Darat Izza 3 19 November 2017 No. 3 17 February 2020
Al-Eiss near Al-Hadher 4 5 February 2018 No. 6 8 February 2020
Tell Touqan 5 9 February 2018 No. 7 5 February 2020
Sarman 6 15 February 2018 No. 8 21 December 2019
Anadan 7 17 March 2018 No. 4 16 February 2020
Zaytuneh 8 3 April 2018 No. 12
Murak 9 7 April 2018 No. 9 22 August 2019
Rashidin in Western Aleppo 10 9 May 2018 No. 5 29 January 2020
Zawiyah (Sheir Maghar) in southern Idlib 11 14 May 2018 No. 10 27 February 2020
Ishtabrak in southwestern Idlib 12 16 May 2018 No. 11
Maar Hattat 13 20 August 2019 Unofficial 1 February 2020
South of Saraqib 14 30 January 2020 Unofficial 5-6 February 2020
North of Saraqib 15 30 January 2020 Unofficial From 5–6 February until 27 February 2020
From 1–2 March 2020
East of Saraqib 16 1 February 2020 Unofficial
West of Saraqib near Tarnbah[14] 17 2 February 2020 Unofficial From 5–6 February until 27 February 2020
West of Saraqib near Msibin[15] 18 2 February 2020 Unofficial
Taftanaz Military Airbase 19 6 February 2020 Unofficial
Between Idlib City and Saraqib 20 7 February 2020 Unofficial
Al-Mastumah 21[b] 8 February 2020 Unofficial
Maarat Al-Naasan [16] 22 10 February 2020 Unofficial 13-14 February 2020
Al-Jinah - Atareb [17] 23 11 February 2020 Unofficial
between Binnish and Taoum[18] 24 12 February 2020 Unofficial
Deir Sunbul in Jabal Al-Zawiya [19] 25 14 February 2020 Unofficial
Kafr Karmin west of Aleppo[20] 26 14 February 2020 Unofficial
West of Darat Izza 27 15 February 2020 Unofficial
Termanin [21] 28 14 February 2020 Unofficial
Al-Bardakly, between Sarmada and Al-Dana 29 17 February 2020 Unofficial
Nahlia village north of Ariha 30 17 February 2020 Unofficial
Mu'tarm west of Ariha[22] 31 17 February 2020 Unofficial
Sarmin [23] 32 18 February 2020 Unofficial
Al Barah [24] 33 24 February 2020 Unofficial
South of Kansafra [24] 34 24 February 2020 Unofficial
Bassams [24] 35 24 February 2020 Unofficial
Kafr Nashe [25] 36 5 March 2020 Unofficial


Colour key
  White cells indicate currently functional official[c] observation posts in rebel-held territories
  Red cells indicate official observation posts, which have been surrounded by the Syrian Army following their construction
  Blue cells indicate currently functional unofficial military installations in rebel-held territories, which are not considered to be part of the 12 Idlib observation posts
  Purple cells indicate unofficial military installations that have since been encircled by the Syrian Army
  1. ^ For citations relating to observation posts and military installations constructed following the end of the original 12 post construction, as well as relating to the encirclement of various military installations, please see the timeline below.
  2. ^ By this point, the Turkish army began to rapidly create many new military installations with various degrees of utilization. Due to the inherent difficulty in tracking the Turkish military's rapid construction, as well as the lack of reliable sources on each new post, some of the installations past this point may not be listed in this table, hence creating an incorrect order count from here onwards. The construction order following this note should be used only when comparing an installation to a previous one listed in the table, and not as an authoritative count on the number of posts. The latest source has listed a total of 35 military posts as of 17 February 2020.
  3. ^ In this context, "official" is used to refer to the 12 Idlib observation posts agreed to in the Astana peace talks.

2017[edit]

Map of the original 12 Turkish observation posts as per the Astana agreement, in rebel territory, per the contemporary front lines on 17 September 2018.      Syrian Army control      Tahrir al-Sham and allies control      National Front for Liberation and allies control      Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army control

Turkish Armed Forces set up their first observation outposts in Idlib in October 2017.[26] Following their deployments, there were reports of minor clashes with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham militants.[27]

2018[edit]

February[edit]

In February 2018 the Turkish military observation outposts were expanded in Northern and Southeastern Idlib.[28][29] On the 6 of the same month a Turkish observation was attacked by rockets and mortars resulting in a Turkish soldier being killed and wounding 5 other Turkish servicemen. The attack was conducted by Militants per Middle East Eye.[30]

May[edit]

On 22 May 2018, the Turkish army established the 12th and last military observation post in Idlib province amid risk of more tension with the Syrian Government and insurgent groups.[31]

September[edit]

On 15 September 2018, the Turkish observation posts were made an official part of the 2018 Idlib demilitarization agreement.[32]

2019[edit]

Following the start of the 2019 Northwestern Syria offensive, Turkish observation posts exchanged artillery fire with Syrian Army units multiple times.

At some point around August 2019, the Turkish Armed Forces constructed an unofficial 13th observation post at Maar Hattat, 10 kilometers south of Ma'arrat al-Nu'man.[33][34][35][36]

In late August 2019, the Turkish observation post at Murak was fully encircled by the Syrian Army after it captured a rebel pocket in the region.[37] The Turkish government announced that it would not move or dismantle the post.[38]

In late December 2019, the Turkish observation post near Sarman was encircled by the Syrian Army during the course of its Autumn offensive. Turkey has stated that it would not evacuate the post.[39]

2020[edit]

On 29 January, the Syrian Army encircled the Turkish observation post at Rashidin in the western outsrikts of Aleppo after pushing back rebel forces from the area.[40]

On 30 January, following the Syrian Army's capture of Ma'arrat al-Nu'man, the Turkish Army set up two more observation posts - just South and North of the town of Saraqib. It then established a third post to the east of the town on 1 February.[41][42]

On 1 February, the Syrian military encircled the Turkish observation post at Maar Hattat,[43] which was built following the Syrian Army's capture of Khan Shaykhun in the summer of 2019.[44]

On 3 February, Syrian Army shelling killed seven Turkish soldiers and one civilian contractor. Seven soldiers were also wounded. The Turkish Army retaliated by targeting Syrian Army positions with artillery and howitzer fire, resulting in 13 dead.[7][45][46][47]

On 5 February, the Syrian Army captured the village of Tell Touqan and thus encircled the Turkish observation post located there. It was not immediately made clear whether or not the post was placed under siege.[48]

On 6 February, the Turkish Armed Forces established a new outpost at Taftanaz Military Airbase.[49] It was reportedly targeted by the Syrian Air Force just hours after its establishment.[50] The Syrian Army completely enrcircled the town of Saraqib, which hosts four unofficial TAF military installations.[51]

On 7 February, the Turkish Armed Forces created a new military post east of Idlib City, just west of Saraqib.[52]

On 8 February, the Turkish Armed Forces established yet another military post, this time located in the Al-Mastumah area between Idlib City and Ariha.[53] A day after the Syrian Army began encircling the Turkish observation post at Al-Eiss,[54] it managed to capture both the town and its corresponding hill after the rebel forces that previously controlled it withdrew following a three-pronged envelopment by government forces.[55]

On 10 February, five or six Turkish soldiers were killed and another seven were wounded due to artillery fire from the Syrian Armed Forces.[56]

On 14 February, the Turkish army set up a base at Deir Sunbul village.[57]

On 15 February, the Turkish army established two new military posts near Darat Izza.[58]

On 16 February, the Syrian Army shelled the Turkish military post at Shekh Aqil, reportedly injuring many Turkish soldiers.[59]

On 17 February, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the Turkish military had established several more military posts, bringing the total number of official and unofficial Turkish military installations in Idlib up to 35.[60]

On 20 February, 2 Turkish soldiers died and 5 were reported wounded while they were assaulting, along with their proxies, the town of Al-Nayrab.[61]

On 26 February, 2 Turkish troops were killed and several others were reported wounded following a Syrian airstrike in Idlib province.[62] The Syrian Army captured Deir Sunbul,[63][64] besieging the nearby Turkish observation post stationed nearby in an area called Sheir Maghar.[65]

On 27 February, at least 33 Turkish soldiers were killed by Syrian or Russian airstrikes.[66] Rebel forces advanced on Saraqeb under the cover of Turkish missile fire, thus managing to recapture the town and lift the siege imposed on three of the four surrounding Turkish observation posts - to the north, west and south of the town. The eastern observation post remained surrounded by government forces.[67][63]

On 28 February, one Turkish soldier died and six more were wounded in Syrian air and artillery strikes in Idlib.[68]

On 18 March, Turkish troops entered the de-escalation zone to reopen the M4 highway previously blocked by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and jihadist factions.[69]

On 5 May, Syrian forces destroyed a Turkish bulldozer with a missile in Al-Dweir checkpoint north of Saraqeb. A second bulldozer sent to retrieve the first was in turn destroyed by another missile, killing and wounding the drivers.[70]

On 27 May, the Turkish Ministry of Defense announced the death of a Turkish soldier by a explosion in the Aleppo-Latakia Highway in northwestern Idlib.[71] A convoy of Turkish military vehicles and opposition factions was targeted by a IED, Turkish helicopters evacuated the wounded to Al-Rayhaniyyah.[72]

Reactions[edit]

Within Syria[edit]

  • Syria Syrian government: An unnamed source at Syria's Foreign Ministry said, "The Turkish regime must abide by what was agreed in Astana."[73][74]
  • Rojava: “Any military operation led by Turkish forces in Afrin will fail as it would elicit a harsh and unexpected response,” Rezan Gilo, head of the Defense and Self-Protection Body of Afrin, told Kurdistan 24.[75]
  • Army of Revolutionaries: Ahmed Sultan, commander of the Army of Revolutionaries, accused Turkey of selling Idlib to the Syrian regime, Iran and Russia and called upon the people of Idlib to resist the planned Turkish, Iranian, and Russian intervention in Idlib.[76]
  • Tahrir al-Sham: The Tahrir al-Sham leadership stated that anyone supporting the intervention is committing treason.[77]

International reactions[edit]

  •  Russia: The head of the Russian delegation for the Astana talks, Alexander Lavrentyev, said that Russia was ready to act as a mediator between the Syrian government and Turkey regarding the situation in Idlib.[78]

Supranational reactions[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Present Turkish losses during the operation in Idlib Governorate do not include unconfirmed claims of 50–100 dead in the February 2020 Balyun airstrikes.[1][2][3][4] Instead, they include 33 soldiers killed in the airstrike confirmed by Turkey.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "First Turkish military convoy enters Syria's Idlib". 7 October 2017 – via Reuters.
  2. ^ "إجراء عسـ.ـكري ضخـ.ـم للجـ.ـيش التركي في إدلب". Soshals. 8 July 2020. Retrieved 12 July 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Turkey's military build-up 4,600 vehicles arrive in Syria since the ceasefire, as nearly 70 new vehicles enter "de-escalation zone"". SOHR. 11 July 2020. Retrieved 12 July 2020.
  4. ^ Gumrukcu, Tuvan (6 March 2020). "Ceasefire in Syria's Idlib comes at a cost for Turkey's Erdogan". Reuters. Reuters. Retrieved 12 July 2020.
  5. ^ 1 killed (6 Feb. 2018),[6] 1 killed (6 April 2019),[7] 1 killed (28 June 2019),[8] 58 killed (3 Feb.-5 March 2020; per Turkish President),[9][10] 72 killed (3 Feb.-5 March 2020; per SOHR),[11][12][13] 3 killed (18-19 March 2020),[14] 1 killed (27 May 2020),[15] 1 killed (5 June 2020),[16] 1 killed (12 June 2020),[17] total of 67–81 soldiers killed
  6. ^ "YPG terrorists attack Turkish military convoy in Idlib with car bomb, kill 1 civilian, injure 2 others". DailySabah.
  7. ^ a b Syria war: Turkey will not let Syrian army advance in Idlib, says Erdogan
    UN: Northwest Syria fighting displaces over 500,000 in 2 months
    Turkey to keep military observation posts in Idlib, Syria
  8. ^ Military escalation in “De-escalation zone” 51 days on: 1,200,000 people displaced…2,640 killed…276 areas fall to regime forces
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  17. ^ @almohrarmedia2 (2020-02-11). "عاجل: مراسلنا: الجيش التركي ينشئ نقطة عسكرية جديدة على طريق (#الجينة - #الأتارب) بريف #حلب الغربي" (Tweet) (in Arabic). Retrieved 2020-02-12 – via Twitter.
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  19. ^ @anasanas84 (2020-02-14). "الجيش التركي يقوم بإنشاء نقاط عسكرية له في قرية #دير_سنبل بجبل الزاوية في ريف ادلب الجنوبي" (Tweet) (in Arabic). Retrieved 2020-03-05 – via Twitter.
  20. ^ @Step_Agency (2020-02-14). "#عاجل" (Tweet) (in Arabic). Retrieved 2020-03-05 – via Twitter.
  21. ^ @mohmad_rasheed (2020-02-15). "أنشأ الجيش التركي نقطتين عسكرية اليوم الأولى في "الفوج 111" شرق مدينة "دارة عزة" بريف حلب الغربي والثانية في بلدة "ترمانين" بريف إدلب الشمالي" (Tweet) (in Arabic). Retrieved 2020-03-05 – via Twitter.
  22. ^ @AleppoAMC (2020-02-17). "الجيش التركي ينشئ نقطة عسكرية جديدة له في قرية معترم بالقرب من مدينة اريحا جنوب إدلب" (Tweet) (in Arabic). Retrieved 2020-02-18 – via Twitter.
  23. ^ @AlArabiya_Brk (2020-02-18). "المرصد السوري: قوات تركية تنتشر في بلدة سرمين شرق إدلب #العربية_عاجل" (Tweet) (in Arabic). Retrieved 2020-03-05 – via Twitter.
  24. ^ a b c @Step_Agency (2020-02-24). "القوات التركية تنشئ ثلاث نقاط مراقبة جديدة بالقرب من بلدة البارة و جنوب بلدة كنصفرة و بلدة بسامس في ريف #إدلب الجنوبي " (Tweet) (in Arabic). Retrieved 2020-03-05 – via Twitter.
  25. ^ @HalabTodayTV (2020-03-05). "الجيش التركي ينشئ نقطة عسكرية جديدة في بلدة كفرناصح بريف حلب الغربي" (Tweet) (in Arabic). Retrieved 2020-03-05 – via Twitter.
  26. ^ "İdlib'de ilk gözlem noktası oluşturuldu". www.trthaber.com.
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  30. ^ "Turkish soldier killed in attack in Syria's Idlib province". Middle East Eye.
  31. ^ Idiz, Semih (May 22, 2018). "Turkish army's Idlib action 'riskiest cross-border operation' to date". Al-Monitor.
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  34. ^ Nahas, Noor (2019-08-22). "Turkish Observation point in Maart Hatat, #Idlib seems to be expanding. Some sort of smoke rising nearby, unsure if strike or fire. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRvn6oPKiJk …pic.twitter.com/42HiiPYAhH". @NoorNahas1. Retrieved 2020-01-10. External link in |title= (help)
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  40. ^ نت, الميادين (2020-01-29). "مراسل الميادين: الجيش السوري بات يسيطر نارياً على خان طومان بريف حلب". شبكة الميادين (in Arabic). Retrieved 2020-02-01.
  41. ^ "Turkey-Russia growing tension: Turkish forces install new military post in Kafr Amim encircling Saraqeb from three sides". Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 1 February 2020.
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  43. ^ SYRIAN ARMY BESIEGES THIRD TURKISH OBSERVATION POST IN SOUTHERN GREATER IDLIB, South Front, February 1, 2020
  44. ^ Mudiq, Qalaat Al (February 1, 2020). "#Syria: fresh photo shows #TSK evacuated the Obs. Post in Maar Hatat before arrival of pro-Assad forces. Position was built after capture of #KhanSheikhoun last Summer. Pic via @SchoenbornTrent. http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=35.570703&lon=36.654296&z=15&m … https://twitter.com/QalaatAlMudiq/status/1221853590345732096 …pic.twitter.com/z7FctERR7I". External link in |title= (help)
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  46. ^ 6 Turkish troops, 13 Syrian soldiers killed in north Syria
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  48. ^ "Regime forces enter the administrative border of southern rural Aleppo, and capture a village hosting Turkish military post east of Saraqeb". Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
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  50. ^ "بعد ساعات من تثبيت القوات التركية نقطة بداخله.. طائرات النظام الحربية تستهدف مطار تفتناز العسكري". Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Retrieved 6 February 2020.
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  55. ^ "بعد انسحاب المقاتلين منها.. قوات النظام تسيطر على بلدة العيس الاستراتيجية جنوب حلب في إطار عملية استكمال السيطرة على اتستراد دمشق – حلب الدولي". Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (in Arabic). 8 February 2020.
  56. ^ Five Turkish troops killed in clashes with Syrian army"SON DAKİKA HABERİ: İdlib'de 5 asker şehit". NTV (in Turkish). 10 February 2020.
  57. ^ "Turkish forces set up new military post in 111th regiment, west of Aleppo". Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 15 February 2020.
  58. ^ Desk, News (2020-02-15). "Turkish military establishes new posts in west Aleppo to stop Syrian Army advance". AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. Retrieved 2020-02-15.
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  61. ^ "Nearly 45 regime and Turkish soldiers and rebels killed in shelling and violent battles on Al-Nayrab frontline, east of Idlib". Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 21 February 2020.
  62. ^ "Two Turkish troops killed as state media intensifies attack on Russia". Ahval News. 27 February 2020. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
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  64. ^ "The army liberates 15 villages from terrorism in idleb southern countryside". Syrian Arab News Agency. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
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  67. ^ "Turkish artillery paves the way for the factions to advance further into areas surrounding Saraqeb". Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  68. ^ "45 regime forces killed by bombing drones and war planes and Turkish artillery shelling ... and surface-to-surface missiles targeting the countryside of Aleppo".
  69. ^ "Under HTS's supervision, Turkish forces set up guard posts and conduct patrol on their own". Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 19 March 2020. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  70. ^ "Hostilities | Regime forces attack Turkish bulldozer in rural Idlib, leaving casualties". Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
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