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As soon as the al-Qaeda-affiliated “moderate opposition” of Greater Idlib considers that it could have a bit of freedom to act, the Syrian Arab Army reminds it that the situation isn’t so.
Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham and the other factions attempt to act, thinking that Damascus is preoccupied in its endeavor to contain ISIS in the central region with Russia’s help. It seems that they are mistaken.
On May 3rd, at least 4 militants of the Ahrar al-Sham Movement near the area of al-Burnas in the northern countryside of Lattakia were killed in a Syrian Arab Army (SAA) operation that included guided missile strikes by Damascus forces.
Then, on the very next day, the army struck a pickup and motorcycle of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) near the village of al-Qarqur with an ATGM.
Both Arhar al-Sham and the TIP are allies of al-Qaeda’s Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, which leads the al-Fateh al-Mubeen Operations Room in Greater Idlib.
The operations room is highly likely behind all ceasefire violations that take place in Greater Idlib, and the positions of the factions it coordinates are continuously pounded by the SAA and its Russian support.
Furthermore, it is probably a matter of time until Turkey’s efforts and those of the factions it backs are also impeded in northeastern Syria.
May 5th was the seventh day in a row in which an electricity power outage continued in Hasaka province due to Turkish forces’ control of the quantities of water supplying the Euphrates Dam.
To top it all off, the US continues smuggling resources away from the Syrian people.
On May 5th, 35 trucks loaded with wheat were escorted in a convoy towards northern Iraq and away from Hasaka province.
In northern Iraq, instability is also a constant. On May 5th, unidentified militants attacked the Bai Hasan oil fields in the northern Iraqi province of Kirkuk, where large oil reserves are located.
The militants blew up two wells in the oil fields with explosive devices while attacking a nearby security post to distract the guards. A police officer was killed and three more were wounded in the attack.
Incidents such as this aren’t uncommon. Earlier, two other wells were blown up in the same field and ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, which didn’t result in any real material losses.
Damascus and Baghdad have recently held talks on bilateral relations and cooperation in different fields. Security is likely one of them, and it is simply a matter of time until coordinated actions begin, initially against ISIS, and then likely against the Turkish forces whose encroachment both Syria and Iraq oppose.