Syria Situation Report: September 16-29, 2020
By Andrew Greco and Will Christou (SyriaDirect)
Key Takeaway: Pro-regime actors may be preparing for an offensive in Greater Idlib Province. Russia and the regime have recently increased their bombardment and infiltration attempts in the Jabal Zawiya and Sahl al-Ghab areas. Russia is diplomatically pressuring Turkey to fulfill its commitments to counterterrorism likely to justify a pro-regime offensive against areas primarily controlled by al Qaeda-aligned factions if Turkey does not conduct operations against these groups. Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, an al Qaeda-linked faction, is likely attempting to brand itself as moderate by conducting anti-ISIS operations to weaken the Russian narrative that terrorist organizations control Idlib Province and potentially to secure the support of Turkey in repelling a pro-regime offensive.