In a rare incident, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) captured two Turkish-backed militants in the northern countryside of Lattakia on March 19.
Opposition sources said that the militants were heading to their post on one of the frontlines in northern Lattakia when they lost their way. The militants approached a post of the army, where they were quickly apprehended.
The captured militants were fighting in the ranks of the Sham Corps, one of the largest Turkish-backed factions in the northwestern region of Greater Idlib.
Turkish-backed militants operate in northern Lattakia side by side with several al-Qaeda-linked groups including Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the Turkistan Islamic Party and Ajnad al-Kavkaz.
During a series of battles with the SAA between 2019 and 2020, Turkish-backed groups provided al-Qaeda militants in Greater Idlib with fire support using anti-tank guided missiles, mortars and artillery rockets which were all supplied by Ankara.
Turkish-backed factions in Greater Idlib, which are unified in a coalition dubbed the National Front for Liberation (NFL), are a part of the HTS-led al-Fateh al-Mubeen Operations Room.
Recent reports revealed that HTS and the NFL are working to merge within a military council that would command and control all operations against the SAA and its allies in Greater Idlib.
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