Government, opposition resume intensive mutual shelling in Syria’s northwest

IDLIB, Syria (North Press) – De-escalation zone in the countryside of Hama, Aleppo and Idlib in northwest Syria witnessed on Monday mutual shelling between Syrian government forces and Turkish-backed armed opposition factions, known as Syrian National Army (SNA). 

Since early morning, the government forces have targeted opposition positions in the villages and towns of Zayzun, Hmeimat, al-Enkawi, Qeleidin, al-Qahira, Khirbet al-Naqous, al-Hamidiyah, and Duqmaqin in Ghab Plain west of Hama, with more than 50 missiles and artillery shells, an opposition source told North Press.

The government forces targeted the SNA factions in the villages and towns of al-Lej, al-Maouzrah, al-Badriya, Sahn, and Jdaria in Zawiya Mountain, south of Idlib, according to the source. 

In addition, they targeted the villages of Kansafra, Fatteirah, Kafr Oweid, Sfuhen and the outskirts of al-Bara, the source added.

The government’s shelling also targeted positions in the villages and towns of Tuqad, Maklabis, Sheikh Suleiman, Kafr Taal, Blinta in Aleppo western countryside, according to the same source.

Meanwhile, North Press was informed that al-Fateh al-Mubin Operations Room targeted government forces’ positions in Jorin Camp, al-Bahsa, al-Mashari’a, Tanjara, al-Hakoura and al-Fatatra in Ghab Plain area, west of Hama, with heavy artillery shells and rockets.

The escalation comes amid talks within the SNA circles about preparations to launch a new military operation against government forces in Idlib and Aleppo countryside.

Although the de-escalation zone in northwest Syria is subject to a Russian-Turkish ceasefire agreement signed in March 2020, the area witnesses frequent mutual bombardment despite the entry of the ceasefire into force.  

In March 2020, Russia and Turkey reached an agreement in Moscow that stipulated a ceasefire, the establishment of a safe corridor, and the conduct of joint patrols on the M4/Aleppo-Latakia Highway.

Since the beginning of July, several fronts south of Idlib and west of Aleppo have been witnessing an unprecedented military escalation, which is the first of its kind since the signing of the de-escalation agreement between Russia and Turkey in March 2020.    

Reporting by Baha’ al-Nobani