As the situation in Northwestern Syria continues to deteriorate, clashes between government troops and militants on the line of contact do not stop even at night. At the same time armed groups are engaged in internal conflicts over influence in the region. About 50,000 militants are currently operating in Idlib province, most of them being members of Hay’at Tahrir al Sham group (formerly Jabhat al Nusra).
In addition to fighting against the Syrian army and struggling for power with other armed groups, HTS terrorists regularly attempt to attack Russian Hmeimim airbase with MLRS and locally manufactured armed drones. In response to such attacks Russian jets target jihadists’ positions.
Last Monday, May 6th, Russian and Syrian air forces carried out large scale airstrikes on the militants. According to Al-Masdar News, the first airstrikes targeted Western Aleppo, then the jets bombed HTS facilities in Southern Idlib and Northern Hama. The report notes warplanes hit supply routes and warehouses of the terrorists.
According to SMMS sources close to the opposition, militants are preparing to stage another false flag chemical attack in response to the heavy air raids to blame Damascus and Moscow for killing and injuring dozens of civilians. The terrorists reportedly intend to use debris of aerial bombs recently dropped by Russians and Syrian jets as evidence.
The terrorists could exploit authentic chemical weapons agents to make the attack appear real. Former Vice President of the Syrian opposition’s High Negotiations Committee Khaled al Mahamid stated that HTS possesses chemical weapons. “No one can get into a great battle in Idlib, because a big massacre will happen, since al Nusra [former name of HTS] possesses qualitative weapons – it might have chemical weapons and long-range missiles,” he said in an interview to Saudi al Hadath channel.
It is likely that we will witness another chemical attack provocation that will be used by the militants and the Western mainstream media against Damascus and Moscow. It can be assumed that the situation in Syria will deteriorate to a point where joint efforts of Iran, Turkey and Russia to reach a political settlement of the conflict will fall far from implementation.