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Syrian Army lays siege to Turkish military post in Idlib; Turkey-Russia spat emerges

Beirut: The Syrian military, which has initiated massive action in northern Syria’s Idlib province, surrounded a Turkish army post in the town of Al-Surman. The Syrian army is anticipated to launch an attack on the Turkish soldiers to wrest control of Al-Surman. Meanwhile, reports have surfaced of the differences between Russia and Turkey over the Idlib conflict.  

The Syrian military has undertaken the most extensive campaign in the northern Idlib, scrapping the ceasefire imposed last year. Under the operation, Russia and Syria have carried out airstrikes on critical locations in Idlib and claimed to have gained control over a significant area. On Monday, the Syrian military was said to have begun advancing towards Al-Surman and Jarjanaz in the southeast of the province. The military has now gained control over the Jarjanaz city and made massive deployments in Al-Surman.   

Turkey has built an army post in Al-Surman and as per the agreement signed between Russia and Turkey last year, the Turkish forces, as well as Turkish-backed militants, are deployed at 12 locations in Idlib. Turkey asserted the deployment was made to safeguard its interests in Idlib. Nevertheless, the Assad regime accused the country of setting up military bases to control the oil in the province. Turkey had thus deployed Turkish-backed rebels in the region, the Syrian army said. Given the scenario, the Syrian military appears to have issued a warning to Turkey by laying a siege on the Turkish security post.   

The Syrian military has taken similar actions against Turkey, even in the past. The Syrian forces had laid siege on a Turkish security post in the Morek city in August. At that time, the Syrian military had launched a massive attack on the Turkish soldiers causing them to lose contact with the Turkish command centre as also the Turkish-backed rebels. Later, after negotiations with Russia, Turkey secured the release of its soldiers by handing over the control of Morek to the Syrian army.  

But now, Syria and Russia, both have indicated not to be willing for negotiations on Al-Surman. The Syrian government and Kurds have concurred on expelling Turkey from Syrian territory. Furthermore, the talks ongoing between Russia and Turkey for the last two days, have also reportedly fallen through. Severe differences have emerged between them over the Syrian and Libyan conflicts, the effects of which may be visible in the times to come. Moreover, they have already begun to surface in Syria’s Idlib.    

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