Idlib Dawn Update – Erdogan’s Dilemma – TTG

EP3B1fBW4AAHecp25th Division (Tiger Force) soldiers standing on the M4 west of Saraqib

BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:40 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) continued their push towards the strategic Aleppo-Latakia Highway (M-4) this afternoon following the capture of two towns earlier today. Backed by heavy artillery, the Syrian Arab Army’s 25th Special Mission Forces Division (formerly Tiger Forces) maneuvered around the Turkish military this afternoon to capture two more towns along this key highway.

According to the latest field report from Idlib, the Syrian Army captured the towns of Al-Turniyah and Nayrab after advancing southwest of Saraqib. As a result of this advance, the Syrian Arab Army found themselves in position to cutoff the Aleppo-Latakia Highway, which resulted in the obstruction of a militant supply route between the cities of Aleppo and Idlib. Furthermore, this advance allowed the Syrian Army to reach the Idlib part of the Aleppo-Latakia Highway for the first time since 2015.

Last night, the Turkish Armed Forces carried out a number of strikes against the Syrian Arab Army, following accusations that the latter killed four Turkish soldiers inside the Idlib Governorate. (AMN)



With this weekend’s advance by the SAA, Erdogan is left not knowing whether to shit or go blind. Over the last week, he sent 200 vehicles including 50 tanks and APCs into Idlib in an effort to thwart the SAA’s taking of Saraqib. He established “observation posts” to the north, east, south and west of the city as shown on the map below.


The OP to the west of Saraqib on the M4 highway came under SAA artillery fire yesterday killing and wounding several Turkish soldiers. Erdogan declared the Astana plan dead. Russia said the Turks moved in without proper coordination so the Turkish casualties are on Erdogan. Iran said that Syria has the right to reclaim her territory even under the Astana plan so Erdogan can pound sand up his ass. It does seem like the SAA will soon create a cauldron with Saraqib full of jihadis and Turks along with a large swath of jihadi infested territory east of Saraqib. 

The SAA is only eight kilometers from Idlib city. They are also making good progress on the Aleppo front. The 30th Republican Guards Division has pushed well beyond Khan Tuman and are still driving towards the M5 north of Saraqib. What will Erdogan do next? Will the Turkish Army finally join their jihadi brethren as full fledged co-belligerents against the SAA and the Russian Aerospace Forces?


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19 Responses to Idlib Dawn Update – Erdogan’s Dilemma – TTG

  1. Barbara Ann says:

    Great update TTG, thanks.
    It does indeed appear that crunch time has come for the Ottomaniac Sultan. Can he really contemplate a direct intervention to try and save Idlib and risk war with both SAG and Russia? Hard to believe.
    Yet, as you imply, the other choice of accepting defeat is almost as unpalatable. There is the small matter of what happens to the hundreds of thousands of refugees being squeezed into NW Idlib. And if Turkey lets them in, how can it avoid the jihadis coming with them? It is one thing to export jihad in other people’s countries, but many of these folk no doubt now feel betrayed by Turkey and I’d guess some may want to take their revenge on their erstwhile backer.

  2. luke8929 says:

    The Russians say no airstrikes from the Turks on Syrian positions. Erdogen had said there were several.
    How do you say Pinocchio’s nose is growing again in Turkish?

  3. nightsticker says:

    Very much enjoy your reports
    and analysis. Please keep them
    Question: do you ever come across
    information that indicates either
    side [R+6 or Jihadis] are taking

  4. turcopolier says:

    My own solution for jihadi prisoners as that they should not bew entertained for long.

  5. Nightsticker,
    I’ve seen very few videos of jihadi prisoners. I think a big reason for that is the nature of the combat. The jihadis withdraw rather than die in place or be captured and the SAA doesn’t go rushing into close quarters combat where they over run the jihadi positions. I’ve seen one jihadi pulled out of a hole in Maarat al Numan and one around west Aleppo. The one in Aleppo was whining about the 4th Armored Division’s Golan missiles. Probably rattled his brain pretty good.

  6. walrus says:

    Erdogan appears to be on the horns of a dilemma; he can participate in another “humanitarian disaster” ploy complete with chemical weapons accusations, that is no doubt about to be launched by
    Bellingcat and the White Helmets over a Saraquib cauldron – that would involve him accepting more jihadi refugees and their families, or he can quietly fold his tents, extract his OP’s and forget his territorial ambitions.
    ….Unless he can open another front somewhere? Libya? In Australia we are getting constant static about the “plight” of the children born to Australian jihadis who are supposedly caught up in this mess. I am not sure what is the solution to that issue. I know what the fictional solution is, but I think that cruel.

  7. JohninMK says:

    The Turks and their proxies seem to have repeated their earlier mistakes in the layout of their fixed defences, think Maginot Line.
    The SAA are exploiting this by attacking between villages/towns (the defensive line locations) and then swinging round to attack from the rear, usually leaving time and an escape route for the terrorists to avail themselves of as the SAA wants to take back territory with the minimum of casualties, so as little actual fighting as possible. All after breaking morale by shelling/rocketing/bombing straight from the classic Red Army playbook.
    Their OPSEC seems to have improved dramatically as well as, apart from a few posts and favoured outlets, there is virtually no mobile phone videos on social media. It looks like the SAA has evolved back into a proper disciplined army again, well capable of recovering all its territory.

  8. JohninMK says:

    Regarding jihadi prisoners. The past strategy of the Syrian Government was to split prisoners into two groups, native Syrians and others. The Syrians were allowed, if they wished, to recant their crimes and were put into military re-education units. The others, of both groups, were often bused to other still terrorist held parts of Syria, like Idlib, or never heard from again. As the former busing option is now gone it is possible they will meet their maker.

  9. Hamza says:

    TTG– I fear the Turks have failed to learn the lessons from Pakistan’s dalliance with the wahabbis. For some reason, Erdogan has gone from ‘zero problems with neighbors’ to aiding the bastard offspring of Al-Qaeda in destroying the Syrian Arab Republic. I don’t see any upside to Turkey in establishing a jihadist state on its borders. Hurting the Kurds, ok, I get it. But Iran, Iraq, Syria would be allies against the Kurds anyway. So, it is not rational for them to use the wahabbis against the Kurds. It seems like rage… to support jihadists against the SAR.
    Even the Pakistanis may have learned you can’t control or even direct these creatures. (maybe). It’s like keeping a cobra as a pet and then being surprised when it stings your children

  10. Lyttenburgh says:

    Meanwhile Idlibian jihadi’s propaganda becomes more clumsy and desperate. These dirty sahavats fighting only for Turkish liras and passports released a clip of them running away, and then claiming that angels descended from Heaven to protect them from Assad.
    Monday, Tomato Sultan was in the Ukraine. Here he greeted the Ukrainian honour guard with the OUN-UPA/Post-Maidan Ukrainian greeting of “Slava Ukrajine!” He’d have just said “Glory to Hinzira!” to the same effect.
    What a haram, astagfir allāh! Every Muslim knows, that you can glorify Allah (swt) alone, and that expressing Al-wala to a bunch of literal salo-fites is kufr.
    Erdogan is kafir, Turkey is a land of kuffr. Everyone who considers Erdogan a “faithful Muslim” is kaffir, everyone who calls Turkey a “Muslim country” is kaffir.

  11. Lyttenburgh,
    Yes, that was quite a visit to Ukraine. It can be summarized as:
    1. Erdogan acknowledged that Crimea is Ukrainian
    2. exclaimed Slava Ukraina!
    3. promised to give Ukraine $34 million of military equipment.
    Seems the Sultan is in a major snit over Putin’s military actions in Syria and Libya.

  12. Mark Logan says:

    They way things are going Erdogan will soon be on the horns of the dilemma of what to do when the Jihadis need to flee into Turkey. All fun an games when the party’s in someone else’s yard. I imagine he will try to keep them in camps. Unlikely they will be happy to just sit there, not for long.

  13. anon says:

    It suited turkey when soleimani was killed.It is his forces that are fighting the jihadi’s in idlib.The long term plan is a iranian pipeline through syria to the med.That would be in opposition to turkstream.The astana agreement is now in doubt.
    The sultan of swing will end up on the end of a string.imhfo

  14. Daniel Nicolas says:

    two related items popped up on my newsfeed:
    “Reports that Turkish-backed forces bombed Russian Military Police positions in northern Aleppo have appeared today in local Kurdish and Syrian media, and in some cases it is reported that the attacks carried out by the Turkish army. The incident allegedly took place in the village of Kashtaar, which is relatively close to Tel Rifaat.”
    also reporting:
    “The Russian military may have shot down two unmanned US Armed Forces aerial vehicles in the eastern Mediterranean last night, according to Russian defence website”
    many thanks to TTG for his report, I appreciate the continued analysis from this committee.

  15. Leith says:

    There is a mass migration currently underway from the center of Idlib City towards the Turkish border.
    Meanwhile PomPom says he fully supports Turkey’s artillery shelling of the SAA.

  16. Jane says:

    The translation you were looking for:
    Pinokyo’nun burnu tekrar büyüyor.

  17. Jane says:

    I don’t believe Turkey has any problems with Crimea’s status within Ukraine. Under Ukraine, the small Tatar minority had its own institutions and an elected community organization, the leader [? Djamilof] being on close terms with the GOT. Turkey has a significant Crimean Tatar population, refugees from the Imperial Russian expulsion and some of the many victims of Stalin’s deportation to Kazakhstan [like the Circassians who were banished to Uzbekistan with upwards of a million or more dying on route or starving to death once they got there.] who managed to get out but not let back into Crimea at the time.
    A couple of years before the Russian invasion, Ukrainian TV produced a feature-length film about this horrific Stalinist deportation…cattle cars and all. A good bit of the dialogue was in Tatar and it is the true story of a Soviet fighter pilot who brings his Russian buddies with him to a village wedding only to be a helpless witness for what was happening to his family and community. It was aired on Ukrainian TV. [A copy without subtitles is available on YouTube.] The older extras in the film were returnees who had actually been among the victims hearded into those cattle cars.
    When Russia took over, repressing Tatar ethnic expression was one of the first targets and all the above mentioned were destroyed and the leadership fled to mainland Ukraine where their cause has been wrapped into the general Ukrainian narrative about Russia’s takeover.
    Erdo has not been shy about his ties with Ukraine, as demonstrated by his getting the “Patriarch of Constantinople” to hold the service in Istanbul that formally invested the leadership of the new Ukrainian Orthodox Church as independent from its main church, the Russian one. This very visible service, that was as anti-Russian as it was pro-Ukrainian was praised by the US. This event was extraordinary on another level as well: with the creation of the Turkish Republic, this Patriarch was stripped of his role as being an international and regional figure [first among equals among all fellow Byzantine counterparts] was demoted to being merely the Patriarch of Fener, the small traditionally Rum neighborhood in Istanbul.] This infuriated Orthodox churches around the world, since he did not have the authority to carry out the ceremony or recognize the church until after it being agreed up by a universal Synod.

  18. Lyttenburgh says:

    Just two questions –
    1) Did or did not the Crimean tatars collaborate with the Nazi Germany and engage in civilian population massacres on occupied territories?
    2) Have you ever entertained the notion of watching/reading/listening sources with less anti-Russian bias?

  19. FkDahl says:

    Jane, Stalin deported Tatars (and Germans of course) from the Crimea in support of a Jewish state, aided by wealthy american donors. After seeing Golda Meir’s popularity in Moscow he got cold feet and killed the project.

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