Turkey and al Qaeda Continue War on Syria

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Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) continue their aerial crusade over Greater Idlib and Central Syria.

On September 1st, as the capstone of a very active month, seven VKS warplanes carried out more than 25 airstrikes on ISIS cells in Syria’s vast central region.

According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the airstrikes hit fortified hideouts of the terrorist group in the Hama-Aleppo-Raqqa triangle.

More than 550 Russian airstrikes hit ISIS cells in central Syria last August, according to a recent report by the SOHR. The airstrikes killed nine terrorists and wounded 20 others.

The other direction of the airstrike activity is Greater Idlib.

Efforts to contain Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the ruler of Idlib are necessary, as on September 1st a six-year-old girl was killed in the government-held town of Jurin in the northwestern countryside of Hama.

Jurin was one of several government-held towns around the Greater Idlib which were shelled by HTS and its allies. According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the militants fired more than 50 shells and rockets at these towns.

Just hours earlier, in the evening of August 31, an old landmine exploded in the area under militant control in the Syria’s countryside of Idlib. As a result of the explosion, a man and his child were killed, while his second child was injured.

The constant escalation in the region prevents any de-mining or other safety procedures to be carried out, forcing civilians to risk their lives daily.

Instead of enforcing the ceasefire and aiding the local populace, the Turkish Armed Forces are fighting their own war and directly supporting the al-Qaeda-affiliated militant groups in northern Syria.

On August 30, the Turkish army and the militants it backs shelled with artillery strikes the surrounding area of the refugee camp north of the city of Ain Issa as well as the nearby village of Muallaq. The villages of Khalidiya, Hoshan, Ma’lek as well as the nearby M4 highway were also reportedly targeted.

On August 31st, a Turkish UAV hit a checkpoint of Kurdish forces in the town of Ain Issa. The town is strategically important as a link between the self-governing regions of Euphrates and Cizîrê. The town is regularly targeted by Turkish and Turkish-backed forces.

There is no apparent end in sight of the endless fighting between the Greater Idlib so-called “moderate opposition” and the Syrian Arab Army and the Russian VKS in one direction, and the constant fighting of Ankara’s forces and the militants it backs against the Kurdish groups in the other. Northern Syria remains as volatile and chaotic as ever, with varying levels of escalation.

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