The situation in the area of M4 highway (Aleppo-Latakia) of Idlib province remains tense in relation to the activities of terrorist groups. Particularly, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham members held another protest near al-Nayrab village on April 13, which is aimed to prevent conducting the joint Russian-Turkish patrol. Demonstrators took to the road by blocking a way for the convoy.
It should be noted that such provocations have been seen before. Jihadists took immediate actions after the signing of the agreement between Moscow and Ankara. The first protests have erupted on March 12. And then HTS terrorists blown up a bridge next to Ariha on March 16. Using heavy equipment militants made sand walls on the track and established iron barriers. The agreement on a ceasefire and conducting joint patrols was reached on the meeting between Russian and Turkish presidents in Moscow on March 5.
All these actions are meant to provide security for movement of local residents and to prevent a further escalation of tension, which had already reached its peak by early March. However, Ankara’s actions demonstrate its disinterest in the resolution of the crisis in the region because of its political ambitions. The Turkish side aims to mislead its partners and makes a show involving its proxies. According to locals, who have been circulated in one of popular messengers, the Armanaz local council head, Sadiq Zakour, calls for the participation in the rally on M4 road. Moreover, he states that instructions to carry out these activities came down “from above”, which means “from Turkish friends” in local slang.
“As-salamu ‘alaykum! What’s going on, guys? My brothers, regarding tomorrow’s protest – we will start at 9:30 am. Everybody goes to the rally necessarily, necessarily, necessarily! And I was confirmed that any person, any official, who does not participate, he will be immediately fired. And just so you know, these are not my words, this came down from above,” – who, apparently, is an agent of the Turkish intelligence said to locals.
Zakur strictly highlighted that nobody will wear military uniform. Moreover, he noted that wearing green clothes at the protest can do much harm to the conceived action. “My brothers, there is a small mark – nobody will wear military uniform. Neither shirt or t-shirt, even nobody will wear green color. This case is very important!”It is obvious that such activities cannot take place unbeknownst to Ankara with the presence of a large number of observation posts (more than 60) and military personnel (about 10 thousand) in Northwestern Syria. As for the protest and numerous footages from the scene, Turkish police work to push back the protesters seems to be unconvincing and dramatic.
In turn, presented voice messages point to the Turkish involvement in coordinating protests and confirm Turkish intention to maintain its supported groups in Idlib province once again. It is obvious that Ankara agreed to sign the agreement with Moscow to take a pause, which it uses to build up forces in the region in order to increase its influence in Syria. It is likely that Turkish leadership will continue to carry out more such activities approaching its cherished goal of expansion of Syrian territories.
All this once again confirms participation of the Turkish side in the organization of protests on M-4 highway and shows true intentions of Turkey on further destabilization of the situation in Idlib province. It is obvious that Ankara signed an agreement with Moscow to take more time for the further evasion to Syria.