Speaking exclusively to Yeni Şafak daily, Syrian General Fouad Suad, who also serves as an Idlib provincial security official, evaluated the recent developments in Syria and divulged details about the growing atmosphere of panic among militias and troops who support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is preparing to launch a major military offensive in the last opposition-held stronghold of Idlib.
General Suad said over 800 militias and troops affiliated with Assad’s forces had fled from the frontlines following Turkey’s strategic military moves in the region.
“The Turkish army and Turkish politics were successful regarding the Idlib issue. Ongoing military reinforcements and intensive operations at the border put the Syrian regime in a state of fear. This fear spread to the fronts. We can also observe this panic atmosphere from the radio and telephone communications we listen to,” Suad said.
On the other hand Abdurrahman Rafi, a pro-Assad journalist who works in the region, wrote that the morale of troops on the frontlines is low, many militias and soldiers are seeking an opportunity to escape and most of the troops on the frontlines are not ready for battle. He reported that most of the military bases are filled with militias who want to loot the fronts after air and land operations, rather than fighting.
Turkey has been reinforcing its military presence on the border with Syria and instructed over 50,000 Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters stationed in Afrin, Azaz, Jarabulus, al-Bab and al-Rai to “be ready for military deployment.”
The number of Turkish soldiers dispatched to northern Syria exceeded 30,000 in the areas within the scope of the Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations and Idlib. The Turkish army also doubled its armored vehicles and tanks deployed at the Syrian border and dispatched missile platforms, artillery batteries to strategic points.
Assad’s seeks to ignite a war between brothers
Abu Tawfik, a colonel on the Syrian regime’s Homs front, confessed in a WhatsApp conversation with a lieutenant from the same front that they would fail in a ground operation. He also recommended to use those who came from Daraa and Ghouta as pawns by positioning them on the frontlines.
Tawfik also stated that Assad’s main plan was to pit “brother against brother." The Syrian regime forced people to leave Daraa and Ghouta, and many of those Syrians fled to Idlib. Now, Assad seeks to force that are also relatives to fight with each other. Assad has been conducting this same tactic to remain its presence since 1969.
Fear over confession of the Reyhanlı plotter
Suad said that Assad was concerned about the confession of the Reyhanlı massacre plotter, which also affects Idlib conflict.
“In parallel to Turkey’s diplomacy regarding the Idlib issue and the international community’s support of these efforts, bringing the Reyhanlı attack plotter from the Syrian port city of Latakia to Turkey put Damascus into a difficult situation.”
The Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) detained Yusuf Nazik, a vital suspect of the 2013 Reyhanlı attack who confessed that he was acting on orders from Syrian intelligence units, adding: "I was not able to escape from the Turkish state" on Sept. 12.