MOSCOW, February 3. /TASS/. /TASS/. Turkey has sent a convoy of armored vehicles to Syria’s Idlib Governorate in order to block the advance of the Syrian army towards the town of Saraqib, located on the intersection of Latakia-Aleppo and Damascus-Aleppo highways, the Al-Watan daily reported on Monday.
According to the paper, Turkish military is strengthening observation posts on the approaches to Saraqib and is installing one more post on the Kfar Amim-Abu al Duhur line. Turkish armored vehicles have also been spotted in al-Mastum and west of that town. A camp of the Turkestan Islamic Party, an extremist organization made up of Uyghur mercenaries, is located there.
Earlier on Monday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said that on Monday, Turkish jets and artillery carried out strikes against 40 targets in Syria’s Idlib in response to the shelling of its troops in the area of Saraqib. According to the NTV news channel, six soldiers were killed and nine others injured when their positions near Saraqib, Idlib province, came under fire. Ankara argues that the Syrian army had been notified of the positions the Turkish forces were taking in advance.
Earlier, the Russian center for reconciliation of the opposing parties in Syria said Turkish military personnel had come under an attack of Syrian troops in Idlib, because Turkey had failed to notify Russia about the movements of its troops in advance. The Syrian troops were firing on terrorists retreating to Saraqib.
After liberating the town of Maaret al-Numan, a forward stronghold of terrorists from Jabhat al-Nusra (outlawed in Russia), on January 28, the Syrian army is now approaching Saraqib from the south. At the same time, 30 kilometers north of it, another group of government forces advancing from Aleppo, carries out a mop-up operation in the town of Zeitan. Al-Zerba remains in the hands of militants at this section of the front. If the Syrian troops manage to capture Saraqib and al-Zerba, they will regain control over the strategic highway connecting the north and the south for the first time since 2012.