Late on December 23, the Turkish-based “Syrian Interim Government” (an entity funded by Turkey in an attempt to legalize its actions in Syria) threatened the real Syrian government with a military action.
In a released statement, it claimed that forces that participated in Turkey’s Olive Branch and Euphrates Shield operations are now moving to Greater Idlib in order to support their counterparts in repelling an attack by “regime forces, Russia and Iranian militias”.
It remains unclear what “forces” the barely existing “defense ministry” is planning to send to Idlib because Turkish-backed militant groups are already supporting al-Qaeda-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham in the battle against the Syrian Army. The Turkish-backed coalition of militant groups, the National Front for Liberation, has always been a useful partner for al-Qaeda in Idlib.
On December 24, united forces of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the National Front for Liberation and several other militant groups launched a counter-attack in an attempt to retake the town of Jarjnaz from the Syrian Army and its allies.
Clashes between militants and government forces erupted near Jarjnaz itself and the villages of Ghadfa and Abud Dawha. Militants used at least one suicide vehicle borne improvised explosive device.
Pro-militant sources that “rebels” destroyed several pieces of military equipment belonging to the army and captured an armoured vehicle and a battle tank. The fighting in the area continued on December 25.
On December 24, a Turkish delegation visited Moscow to discuss the situation in Syria and Libya, as well as the existing bilateral cooperation. Taking into account that Turkey’s soft reaction to the encirclement of its observation post in Surman and the lack of Turkish Army attempts to establish more observation posts to stop the Syrian Army advance, it seems that Ankara once again sold its Idlib proxies to Russia.