New Syrian militant group claims attacks on Turkish patrol

New Syrian militant group warns of more attacks on Turkish patrols in Idlib
2 min read
02 September, 2020
A new jihadi group has emerged in Syria's Idlib province.
The group has threatened new attacks on Turkish positions [Getty]
A new militant group has emerged in Syria this week and warned of more attacks on Turkish soldiers stationed in Idlib province.

The Ansar Abu Bakr Brigade is said to consist of former militants from Al-Qaeda linked Hurras Al-Din, although the new jihadi group has stressed its independence of any organisation.

In the statement, entitled "Ashuraa Operation - Sallat Al-Zuhur", the Ansar Abu Bakr Brigade claimed an attack on a Turkish military base in western Idlib province last week, close to the M4 highway.

The group alleged that Turkish "NATO" soldiers were killed in the attack and warned locals against approaching Turkish military posts in Idlib, indicating that more attacks are to come.

Last week, a pick-up truck packed with explosives targeted on a Turkish base in western Idlib, injuring a number of Turkish troops and Syrian rebel fighters guarding the installation, although no deaths were reported.

Turkish and Russian troops are taking part in joint patrols along the M4 highway, which links Latakia to Aleppo, as part of a ceasefire that covers Idlib, agreed in March.

Roadside bombs and rockets have frequently targeted the patrols, although it is not clear which militant groups are responsible for the attacks.

Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, whose militants were once linked to Al-Qaeda, has sought to rein in other jihadi groups, including Hurras Al-Din.

Its leader, Abu Mohammed Al-Jolani, has taken part in a tour of Idlib province in a bid to curry favour with locals due to criticism of HTS' extremism and authoritarianism.

Russia has also launched airstrikes on the Kabana area of northern Latakia, where Hurras Al-Din fighters are said to be present.

A devastating Russian-backed offensive on Idlib province in December killed hundreds of civilians and forced 1 million people to flee their homes for the Turkish border.

An agreement was reached between Russia and Turkey to end the fighting, which had strained relations of the two energy partners.

A de-escalation zone has largely helped keep the peace, despite sparodic clashes between Syrian militant groups and the regime in Idlib, as well as periodic Russian airstrikes.

The US has also targeted militants in Idlib that it deems to be a threat.

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