On August 7, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) destroyed a vehicle of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) near the town of Hakoura in the western part of the Greater Idlib region with an anti-tank guided missile.
The strike killed three Syrian militants who were reportedly members of the TIP’s local division, which is known as Ansar al-Turkistan.
The TIP, which is made up mainly of Chinese Uyghurs, maintains a large presence in the western part of Greater Idlib. The al-Ghab Plains in the northwestern Hama countryside, the town of Jisr al-Shughur in the western Idlib countryside, and the Kabani town in the northern countryside of Lattakia are known strongholds of the group.
Up to 4,000 militants are reportedly members of the TIP. The group is one of the closest allies of al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the de-facto ruler of Greater Idlib.
The SAA’s deadly missile strike was likely a response to recent violations of the ceasefire in Greater Idlib, which was brokered by Turkey and Russia more than two years ago. Earlier this week, the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria reported eight violations by HTS and its allies.
Turkey, who maintains a large military presence in Greater Idlib, has been doing nothing to counter terrorist groups like TIP and HTS. Two days ago, the situation in the region was among several topics Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed while meeting in Sochi. The two leaders said they agreed on fighting terrorism in Syria, without elaborating.
Source: South Front