The ceasefire in the Idlib province is generally maintained but very fragile with occasional fire incidents occurring between the Turkish army, the Rebels and the Syrian army.
Over the past two weeks, two notable events have occurred, which are an example of the undermining and the fragility of the ceasefire: As part of the ceasefire agreement in the province, joint Turkish and Russian patrols take place on the M4 motorway. A RPG rocket fired at the patrol On May 12, missed causing no damage.
Dozens of Syrian soldiers and dozens of rebel activists were killed in battles that took place southwest of Idlib in a place called the Al-Ghab Plains. The Syrian army regained a number of Syrian army positions occupied by the rebels.
As of now, there is no knowledge that the Corona virus has spread widely throughout the province. Following the military isolation of the district, by both the Syrian regime and the Turkish army, the rebel organizations are having financial difficulties.
Amid this, the “Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham” (Former Jabhat al-Nusra, the dominant roof organization in Idlib province), decided to open a commercial crossing with the territory controlled by the Syrian regime. The opening of the crossing was met with protests among the local residents since they see it as a surrender to the Syrian regime. The residents forcibly blocked the road leading to the crossing. Activists of the “Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham” forcefully dispersed the protesters (The dispersal included shooting of live ammunition, killing one of the protesters).
In our estimation, the desire and interest of the “Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham” to initiate an economic crossing with the regime does not stem from the desire to benefit local residents (as shown in their response as outlined above), but from a desire to benefit themselves in the face of their financial distress. Once again, we are witnessing that interests in general and economic interests in particular are the cause for unusual cooperation in the Syrian arena.
*Featured photo on top from TURKISH NATIONAL DEFENSE MINISTRY / HANDOUT.