Feb 09 2018

Jihadists get fresh chances on Turkish incursion – report

Turkey’s offensive against Kurdish fighters and a renewed military campaign by the Syrian army are providing ISIS and other jihadist groups with new opportunities to gain territory in the country, CNN reported.

Remnants of ISIS are now converging on the province of Idlib, where the Syrian military is making advances from the south, CNN said citing local sources and the group’s own propaganda. Meanwhile, the Kurds have told their U.S. partners that they may withdraw troops from Syria’s east to help confront the Turks.

The escalating battles and fronts are also jeopardising Russian efforts to widen “deconfliction zones” as a means to a broader settlement for Syria. Idlib was one of those zones, CNN said.

"The scale and ferocity of attacks has increased dramatically, resulting in multiple reports of civilian casualties," and three hospitals being hit, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Syria said. It is investigating reports that weaponized chlorine was used in the town of Saraqib, CNN added.

The Kurds’ attention has shifted from the mission against ISIS to the 400-kilometer stretch of the Turkish border it currently controls. Commanders are warning that they will be less enthusiastic about going after ISIS and may even abandon positions in Deir Ezzor, where the terror group is still active, unless the United States deals with the Turks, CNN said.

http://edition.cnn.com/2018/02/09/middleeast/syria-isis-opportunity-intl/