On January 19, Russian forces established an “observation post” north of the Syrian town of Saraqib in the southern Idlib countryside, according to the North Press Agency (NPA).
A military source told the agency that the Russian post was built right in the front of a Turkish post, which was established near the town of Afes to the north of Saraqib on January 17.
“The newly established Russian post is located around 3 km away from areas held by opposition factions in Afes,” the NPA quoted the source as saying. “ The post was established near positions of the Syrian government forces and their affiliated factions.”
The observation post will likely be manned by personnel of the Russian Military Police, or one of the special forces units which are active around the Greater Idlib region.
In the last few months, Greater Idlib militants carried out a series of attacks on Syrian government troops in Saraqib city. These attacks were a blatant violation of the ceasefire reached on March 5 of the last year. The new Russian post may have been established to monitor these violations.
The Turkish military, which maintains more than 60 posts in Greater Idlib, is doing very little at all to stop militants’ provocations. Now, Russia is apparently preparing to step in.
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