By Adel Karim*
Over the past few days, Turkey has increased the supply of weapons and military equipment to various groups operating in Idlib demilitarized zone. In such a manner Ankara intends to stop the Syrian Army’s attack against rebels in northern Hama.
The Reuters news agency, on May 26, reported that another convoy from Turkey had arrived in Syria. According to the publication, the Turkish military handed over to the militants armored vehicles, Grad rocket launchers, and American-made TOW missiles. In addition to the military equipment Turkey also provides the transfer of militants who participated in Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch military operations from the northern part of Syria to the combat area in northern Hama.
At the same time, neither Ankara nor the rebel groups themselves unequivocally confirmed these facts. However, a spokesman for the National Front for Liberation Naji al-Mustafa once claimed that the group possesses enough weapons and has been receiving financial and logistic support from Turkey for a long time.
It should be mentioned that Turkey is one of the guarantor states of the Astana agreements along with Russia and Iran. Moreover, on September 17, 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin met his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the city of Sochi, where the two leaders agreed to create a demilitarized zone in northwestern Syria.
Thus, Ankara’s actions threaten to undermine international efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis. The situation in the country may become tense again, and that would entail a new flow of refugees, an increase of terrorist activities, and even more civilian casualties.
*Adel Karim is an independent journalist with a focus on Middle East issues.