M4 Highway remains blocked less than a day before first planned Russian-Turkish patrol (VIDEO)
[ Editor’s Note: Several of the proxy terrorist groups in Idlib in the current new deescalation zone have shifted tactics, using unarmed citizens, or jihadis dressed up as them to block the highway and threatening to attack any Russian patrol.
Gosh, that has the strong smell of Turkish involvement to me, a hint that its participation will be a sham, as there will be no “joint security”, and sticking it to Putin again. Erdogan has already brought additional forces into the Western Aleppo area.
On the surface, we had expected that Turkey would be responsible for not letting its proxies kill the ceasefire, and the Russians do the same with the Syrians. This situation puts Erdogan in a delicate position of appearing to not have control over his proxy forces there, when he easily could be withholding supplies that they need to rein them in.
While it is nice for the hard fighting Syrian allied troops to get a needed rest and regroup, I can already smell the fuse burning that will blow up this deal… Jim W. Dean ]
– First published … March 14, 2020 –
For the second day in a row, opposition supporters and activists in Greater Idlib continued their sit-in on the strategic M4 highway.
The sit-in began on March 13. The protesters are planning to prevent Russian and Turkish forces from conducting any joint patrol on the highway in order to sabotage the recent agreement on Greater Idlib. Under the agreement, the first patrol should take place on March 15.
A unit of the Turkish military made an attempt to end the sit-in and open the highway on March 14 noon. However, the protesters refused to evacuate, forcing he unit to retreat. The sit-in is by no mean peaceful, the protesters threatened to target any Russian unit that would approach the M4 highway.
The threats were not limited to the protesters. A large unit of the Sham Corps, the biggest Turkish-backed group in Greater Idlib, released also a statement threatening Russian forces.
“Any Russian patrol that would enter our land will be a target for us,” the unit, known as the Ahl al-Sham Brigade, said in its statement.
Reopening the M4 highway, that links the coastal city of Lattakia with Aleppo city, is the keystone of the Russian-Turkish agreement on Greater Idlib.
Turkey is clearly making efforts to reopen the highway. However, this will not likely happen as radical militants are dominating the area. Turkish forces appear to be unwilling to confront these militants.