IDLIB, Syria (North Press) - On Tuesday, a private source from the Idlib region blamed the Guardians of Religion organization and its affiliated armed groups for an explosion that targeted the joint Russian-Turkish patrol on the M4 highway, ruling out that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) have any involvement in this matter.
A source close to HTS code named Ayman al-Idlabi told North Press that “A VBIED exploded in Museibin city, west of Ariha city, during the passage of a joint patrol, injuring three individuals believed to be Russian soldiers, and damaging four of the patrol’s vehicles.”
Ayman accused armed groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda, such as the Guardians of Religion and its followers.
Ayman ruled out that HTS were behind the explosion, as It is not in its interest to upset Turkey or increase tension in the region, while the goal of Guardians of Religion is to sabotage the agreement concluded between Russia and Turkey regarding the Idlib region.
On March 5th, Russia and Turkey reached an agreement stipulating a ceasefire in Idlib and the start of joint patrols on the Aleppo-Latakia M4 Highway.
The explosion was preceded by a phone call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Idlib was reportedly among the topics discussed.
On the relationship between the bombing and the phone call between Russia and Turkey, Turkish political analyst Muhanad Oglu told North Press, “It seems that there is a party that has been disturbed by Turkish-Russian coordination, and is trying to undermine this understanding through some bombings here or there.”
He added that "Until now, no party has claimed responsibility for the attack, but it is undoubtedly an attempt to sow discord between Turkey and Russia, and perhaps such a party, such as France, the UAE or America, may be behind this attempt." Recently, Turkey confirmed that the end of the ceasefire agreement signed with Russia regarding Idlib could become reality at any time.
These statements indicated that the balance of power in Idlib is weak, and that Turkey has no choice but to increase its military presence in the region, which observers saw as a hint for a future stage that might witness accelerating developments in Idlib.