War correspondent Oleg Blokhin on the situation in Northwest Syria | October 15th 2018

Updated: Oct 17, 2018

By Oleg Blokhin

On the situation in Northern Syria.

Today, within the province of Idlib and adjacent parts of the provinces of Aleppo and Hama under the control of the jihadists, the following situation has arisen.

In these provinces, there are two main alliances, which include various groups. The first is the unification of relatively moderate and pro-Turkish groups, such as "Jaish al-Izza" and Nour al-Din al-Zenki (beheading of a Palestinian teenager comes to mind - R&U).

They are mainly located in the northern Hama, with their HQ in the village of Lathaminah (hom of "uh tayran harbi russi" guy - R&U), they have about 1000 fighters. Commands this group a former major of the Syrian Army, Jamil Saleh

  • Oleg Blokhin - Video clips from Syria:

Nour al-Din al-Zenki is mainly located in the western and north-western suburbs of Aleppo.

So, these are two main groups formed the “moderate wing” of the Idlib zone — Jabhat al-Wataniya lil-Tahrir.

In fact, the list of groups included here is much larger, but the main participants are these.

backup video:

The second wing is the really stubborn jihadists. They control up to 70 percent of the territories of the Idlib zone, the entire border with Turkey and almost the entire line of contact with the SAA.

In the area of the border between Idlib and North Hama, their centers are the infamous Khan Sheikhun. In the region of southern and southwestern Aleppo-Seraqab, Maraat al-Numan, Erich, Jal Jinas.

This alliance called "Hay'at tahrir al-Sham"

After the truce was announced and the demilitarization zone was established, quite a serious confrontation began between these very alliances, since the moderate ones, consisting mainly of local ones, are in principle ready to make a deal and end the war. Those from Hyatt Tahir al-Sham have very different plans. They need a war.

Turks today are trying to maintain and increase the number of moderates, in every possible way supporting them with both - resources and people, but the advantage remains with the Nusrats.

For some time, a series of assassinations of commanders of various gangs and groups, mostly from Nusra supporters, has been marked inside the province of Idlib.

it's been presented as a war between factions. Although in my opinion, this is the work of the Turks to eliminate dissenting militants. Now the Turks in Idlib need a silence and complete obedience. Therefore, those who sabotage this concept must be eliminated.

In addition, an interesting detail is noted in Idlib and the provinces. The documentation began to be published and filled out in two languages, Turkish and Arabic. Turkish money came into use. And, finally, the Turks began to issue Turkish passports to the locals. It seems they decided to settle here seriously and for a long time, if not for good.

Thus, they solve several problems at once. But we'll talk about them later.

On October 15th, joint patrols of the Russian and Turkish military, and ensuring the security of the demilitarized zone and the Aleppo-Hama and Aleppo-Latakia routes were to begin.

Today, the Turkish side was not ready for this, as reported by the Russian side. In turn, the Russian military has been ready to start patrols

It is hardly worth being surprised by fact that Turks are not fulfilling their obligations. Even if they are sincerely ready to fulfill the agreements, they will have to convince or force the militants who support the Radical Wing, namely Hayat Tahir al-Sham to abide by it.

Same HTS who yesterday openly declared that they were not going to do anything and called for the continuation of the war.

So there is no results on Turkish part, It is possible that it will be in a few days, and may not be at all. This is Middle East.

Today, according to the air reconnaissance no heavy weapons on the contact line was observed. Although in general, it was never there to begin with. They always understood that in the event of the SAA and the allies advance, their only hopeis the provocation with the use of chemical weapons and the subsequent intervention by the US and allies. Otherwise, the Idlib's "moderates" wouldn't stand a chance

Syria, Idlib, Hama, Aleppo.

October 15th, 2018