Round One of Idlib Campaign May Target Turkish-Backed Rebels
Source:Washington Institute Date:12Sep2018
Excellent review of balance of forces in Idlib and assad strategy.
If and when a second round is launched against HTS in northern Idlib, it could be a different order of magnitude. Moscow, Tehran, and Damascus would likely try to use overwhelming force there, arguing that the goal of eliminating al-Qaeda from the area would justify gross humanitarian violations. Although this Machiavellian plan might succeed in military terms, it would seriously damage relations between Russia and Turkey. The battle for Idlib may therefore represent an opportunity for U.S. rapprochement with Ankara, especially if Syrian or Russian forces target the Turkish observation posts dotting the rebel pocket.