BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:30 P.M.) – Turkish unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) reportedly carried out attacks on a vehicle carrying members of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) in the eastern countryside of the Idlib Governorate on Sunday.
In a report released by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the monitor cited an incident on Sunday when a Turkish drone hit a vehicle belonging to HTS near the town of Al-Nayrab; this resulted in the death of at least two members of the jihadist group.
The Turkish drone strike came in response to Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham’s attack on the Turkish military’s observation posts in the Idlib Governorate.
“This attack follows targeting by HTS to Turkish posts in Al-Nayrab area as a respond to the killing of four protestors, including HTS members, participating in Al-Karama sit-in held on the M4 highway after Turkish forces opened fire on area,” the SOHR report said.
Tensions between Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham and the Turkish Army have recently flared up in Idlib, as the latter has repeatedly forced the jihadist group to disperse from their demonstrations along the M-4 Highway (Aleppo-Latakia Highway).
Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham has even gone as far as firing shots at Turkish soldiers, which later resulted in the Turkish Army destroying their barriers along the M-4 Highway and forcibly ending HTS’ demonstrations.
Per the March 5th Moscow Agreement, the Turkish and Russian armed forces will conduct joint patrols along the M-4 Highway; however, Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham has repeatedly violated the agreement by blocking the Russian military’s path along the roadway.
This move has prompted the Turkish military to get more aggressive against the jihadist forces, so that their Russian partners can complete their patrols along the M-4 Highway.