The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) had repelled an attack by the al-Qaeda-affiliated Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) on its positions in the governorate of Idlib, Rear Admiral Oleg Gurinov, deputy chief of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Parties in Syria, told reporters on April 12.
The TIP is a close ally of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the former main branch of al-Qaeda in Syria and the de-facto ruler of the Greater Idlib region which includes vast parts of Idlib.
“In Idlib province, militants of the Turkistan Islamic Party terrorist group made an attempt near Mamuhiya to break into the area controlled by the Syrian government forces. Three militants were destroyed. A Syrian soldier was killed,” the Russian commander said.
Gurinov added that six more soldiers of the SAA were wounded as a result of artillery shelling against military positions near Urum al-Sughra in Aleppo province. HTS was likely responsible for the shelling.
Also on April 12, the Turkish-backed Sham Revolutionaries Brigades targeted a tank of the SAA near the 46th Regiment ase in the western Aleppo countryside with anti-tank guided missiles. The group shared footage of the attack.
The situation in Greater Idlib remains unstable. Last week, the SAA repelled two attacks by HTS and the TIP in the northern Lattakia countryside and the southern countryside of Idlib.
HTS and its allies launched dozens of attacks from Greater Idlib in the last few months, violating a ceasefire that was brokered by Russia and Turkey. The attacks appear to be an attempt to sabotage the normalization process between Ankara and Damascus. Militants fear that the process, if completed successfully, could lead to a Turkish withdrawal from Syria.