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Combat persists in Syria’s Idlib in less than 1 month of truce

CAIRO – 28 March 2020: Engagements between the Syrian Arab Army and militants took place on Saturday at Al-Ftera and Kafr Nubl southern Idlib in parallel to a shelling by the former of the area amid unconfirmed reports about casualties among the ranks of each.
As reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the shelling targeted the towns of al-Bara, Sfohen, and Kafr Aweed in Jabal al-Zawiyah in the southern countryside of Idlib.
SOHR indicated that militants struck a building of the Syrian Armed Forces in Kafr al-Batikh killing two soldiers and injuring others on March 27. Also, a soldier was killed by a sniper in Atarib southern Aleppo.
The Syrian Arab Army is bringing reinforcements in Saraqeb, other areas eastern Idlib and near the administrative borders with Aleppo. Iran-backed militias have been deploying near Saraqeb city in the eastern countryside of Idlib, the vicinity of Kafr Nubl city in the southern countryside of the governorate and other positions in Jabal Al-Zawiyah.
On March 24, the Russian Ministry of Defense declared that two Turkish armored vehicles were targeted by militants in Idlib’s de-escalation zone, and that two Turkish soldiers were injured. The militants planted two explosives on the road where a Turkish convoy was passing near Safohene village.
The attack was executed by militants who are not affiliated to Turkey. Those launched seven strikes the day before.
On March 19, the Turkish Ministry of Defense declared that two of its soldiers were killed in Syria without revealing details. However, SOHR unveiled on the same day that the vehicles carrying them were targeted by explosives on the M4 highway connecting Aleppo and Latakia passing through Idlib.
The incident constitutes the first human loss for Turkey since the March 6 truce between its troops and militants on one hand and the Syrian Arab Army on the other hand has gone into effect.

Uncertainty over number of casualties in Idlib's engagements

CAIRO – 29 February 2020: Turkish opposition platforms reported according to military sources that the number of soldiers killed in Syria's Idlib since February 27 recorded 200 while that of the injured is 70-80.

On the other hand, Turkey started last week establishing three new checkpoints to the west of Jisr al-Shughur city in Idlib adding up to 12 existing ones. The new ones are located in the villages of Badama, Najiya, and Al Zainiyah.
For the second time since joint patrols started on March 15, Russia and Turkey had to shrink the patrolled areas due to security fears. Turkey was supposed to patrol six kilometers northern the road, while Russia was due to patrol six meters southern the road.

Militants force Turkey, Russia to shrink patrolled area on day 1

CAIRO – 17 March 2020: Hundreds of Turkey-backed militants blocked sections of the M4 highway connecting Aleppo with Latakia, pushing Turkey and Russia to shrink the area of their joint patrols that started on March 15 since the first day.