Turkey can not cope with rampant HTS
This massacre is gaining momentum in the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo: the terrorists of Hayat Tahrir ash-Sham destroy pro-Turkish militants, their military equipment and seize the settlements under their control. About 30 cities and towns have become the scene of battles and pass from hand to hand with varying success, gangs leave hundreds of bodies killed in clashes on the ruins. Dozens of militants were captured. Moreover, since the summer of 2018 there has been an active increase in the number of supporters of these gangs, and the territories under their control have constantly increased.
All this happens when the Turkish side is completely inactive. Russia and the Syrian government, fulfilling the previously reached agreements on a cessation of hostilities regime, were forced to observe how Turkey unsuccessfully trying to fulfill its obligations. But time passes, the results of Turkish work are more than modest. During the time when there was a moratorium on the conduct of hostilities in Idlib, the Islamist groups, headed by Hayat Tahrir ash-Sham, gained enough strength to begin the seizure of their neighbors from among the pro-Turkish gangs.
Every day, Islamists seize all new territories in almost all the main directions of the province of Idlib, destroying fighters of pro-Turkish groups. According to various estimates, over the past couple of weeks, the number of people killed in these clashes has exceeded 500 people, most of whom are militants controlled by the Turks. At the same time, as you can see, the Islamists from Hayat Tahrir ash-Sham and their allies are not going to stop on this.
According to various estimates, the radicals plan to take control of the entire province of Idlib, completely knocking out the pro-Turkish formations of the Free Syrian Army and other illegal armed groups from it. And judging by the results achieved by the Islamists, they have every chance to realize their plans.
The city of Darat Izza, an important stronghold of the Nur ad-Din az-Zenki group, was also captured by the HTS gangs. The loss of this region effectively breaks all communications between the pro-Turkish formations of the National Liberation Front (NFR) in Western Aleppo and the adjacent Idlib areas and the Syrian National Army in Afrin and the North Aleppo region in the “Turkish buffer”. Therefore, if Drat Izza is not returned, the main part of the NFO in these areas of Greater Idlib will be completely isolated HTS on the one hand and the Syrian army on the other.
Heavy fighting also takes place in Atariba, which is an enclave surrounded by HTS territory. This locality is controlled by local gangs, which are based on the former Suvar al-Sham militants. The local council refused to surrender the city to the KhTS Islamists without a fight.
This all happens with the inaction of the Turkish side, which was going to launch a military operation against Hyatt Tahrir ash-Sham, and now does not even provide military assistance to its controlled groups, although even a short series of Turkish air strikes could stop the pressure of the Islamists. But Ankara is silent and inactive. If this state of affairs persists, only the memories will remain of the influence of the Free Syrian Army in Idlib, and Turkey will completely lose control over the situation in Idlib province, since after the CTS attacks there will be no one to carry it out.
Well, what do Russia and the Syrian government do in this situation? So far, they are forced to maintain the conditions of the cessation of hostilities regime, since this treaty has not been officially canceled. However, the situation develops in such a way that the entire Idlib province may be under the control of the radicals, and then they will try to move into a large-scale attack on the positions of government troops in the SAR, and this, in turn, will mark the beginning of a new round of bloodshed in the Syrian war.
For obvious reasons, neither Russia nor the Syrian government will allow this, unlike Turkey, to be. As soon as the threat of a radical breakthrough to the territories controlled by Damascus is created, the Syrian military will launch a military operation against the terrorists in Idlib, and they definitely will not stand on ceremony with them. Indeed, behind the backs of the Syrian soldiers, their wives, children, parents and home. And they certainly will not give up their terrorists.