(Photo Credit: İbrahim Hatib / Anadolu Agency)
On 31 October, the Turkish army began setting up a new military post in the Jabal al-Zawiya area, near the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), in Maarat al-Numan, south of Idlib governorate, northwest Syria.
Reports from opposition sources claimed that the Turkish army had taken an uninhabited building, consisting of three floors, as the center of the military post, noting that the point overlooks the SAA-held towns of Kafr Nabl, Kafrouma, and Hanoutin.
“The point is still under construction, and the Turkish army began fortification operations today, raising the Turkish flag on top of the building,” the same sources added, claiming it could be a monitoring point.
Although the entry of Ankara’s columns and the establishment of military points is a routine matter in the Idlib region, it has increased following reports of cooperation in the intelligence field surfaced between the two countries.
Some reports suggested that Turkey’s current activity in the last anti-Assad bastion of Idlib is to open an exchange with government-held areas after the recent infighting in northern Aleppo, during which factions from Idlib, including the Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), fought each other.
Similarly, on 31 July, the Turkish forces established a new military point in a strategic area near the village of San of Saraqib city in the eastern Idlib countryside.
Moreover, a Turkish military convoy, including tanks and heavy vehicles, entered the Bab al-Hawa border crossing on 29 September, headed to the Turkish forces’ points in the southern countryside of Idlib, and was preceded by another convoy on 13 August, that included about 25 heavy vehicles.
During the Turkish military campaign between 2019 and 2020, Turkey established more than 70 military bases and points in the Idlib countryside, most of which are spread across the Jabal al-Zawiya area.
According to reports, 5,000 Turkish servicemen operate in the Jabal al-Zawiya area, equipped with 500 to 550 military vehicles, including tanks, launchers, field artillery, armored personnel carriers, and logistical vehicles.
Despite the presence of Turkish military points in the countryside of Idlib, the northern Syrian regions are subjected to almost daily bombardment by the government and Russia.