Syria sends dozens of tanks to Idlib front – analyst

The Syrian military has sent dozens of tanks to the Syrian province of Idlib, possibly in preparation for another large scale military operation, said on Sunday, citing a military source.

“Despite the [ceasefire] agreements between Russia and Turkey, the Syrian army sends its tanks to the southern part of Idlib province. The reason for this is the failure to comply with an agreement that neither Moscow nor Ankara controls,” a source in the Syrian army told the site. posted a link to a video purportedly showing the movement of heavy armored vehicles, including T-72 tanks.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday that militants from jihadist groups had launched attacks on Syria government forces in Idlib in defiance of the ceasefire made on March 5 by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to end the fighting in the province between Turkish-backed forces and the Syrian military, which is backed by Russia.

Turkey and Russia launched joint military patrols last week along the M4 highway in Idlib as part of the ceasefire agreement.

Over the past three months Turkey has deployed military force to try to halt the Syrian army's advance on the last rebel held province of Idlib that has displaced around 1 million people. 

A new counter-offensive - Operation Spring Shield - was launched by Turkey on March 1 after at least 36 Turkish soldiers were killed in an air strike at the end of February that has been attributed to Russian planes backing Syrian forces.