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A Turkish general died of a heart attack in the combat zone of the Syrian province of Idlib, the Turkish Defense Ministry reported on September 9. According to Turkish state media, the general started to feel bad in the combat zone and was evacuated to a hospital. However, he died despite doctors’ best efforts. Afterwards, his body was moved to the Turkish province of Hatay.
The announcement came just a few days after the Syrian Army and the Turkish Armed Forces exchanged strikes in southern Idlib. Pro-Turkish sources on social media immediately became pretty active arguing that these developments and the death of the general from a supposed ‘heart attack’ are not related.
Later on the same day, the Russian Aerospace Forces conducted a series of airstrikes on positions of the Turkish-backed terrorist group, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, in the western countryside of Idlib. Earlier, Russian airstrikes pounded positions of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its allied terrorists from the Turkistan Islamic Party in the vicinity of the town of Kabani in northern Lattakia. Both waves of airstrikes hit weapon depots and fortified terrorist positions. Pro-government sources as always claimed that these strikes were a pretext for a new Syrian-led ground operation in Greater Idlib. This scenario remains unlikely. The more realistic option is the further development of Turkish-Russian cooperation in the field with the intent of finally creating a real demilitarized zone along the M4 highway and enforcing the withdrawal of radicals and heavy weapons from it. In this light, Syrian sources say that a few more ‘heart attacks’ targeting Turkish officers, who are sabotaging the implementation of this deal and thus directly contributing to the Turkish campaign to defend terrorists hiding in Greater Idlib, may have a positive impact on the situation.
A new armed group calling itself the “Freedom Movement” claimed that it had captured two officers of the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad. In an official statement, first posted on a Facebook page called “Palestinian Top Secrets” on September 5, the group claimed that the officers were captured while carrying out “cross-border security missions.”
The group shared a video of the alleged Israeli officers in captivity. One of the alleged officers identified himself in Hebrew as “David Ben-Rose.” He supposedly worked undercover for Mossad as a petrochemicals scientist. Israel has not commented on the group’s claim so far. In most cases, Tel Aviv does go public with incidents involving its citizens or service members.
There is a significant chance that the Freedom Movement statement may be a part of the ongoing media campaign waged by pro-Palestinian groups against Israel. On the other hand, if the claims turn out to be true, this will become a notable blow for Israeli propaganda amid the country’s growing tensions with Hezbollah and Iran.