Syrian Forces Fire on Turkish Observation Posts

Offensive cuts off route to Turkish military post

Turkish officials are ruling out any redeployment of troops in Syria after reports that Syrian troops opened fire on a Turkish observation post in Syria’s northern Idlib Province. There were no casualties.

Turkish officials say they’re taking the matter seriously, since they’ve propped up 12 observation posts in Idlib under previous deals, with an eye toward propping up rebel forces in the region.

After a Turkey-brokered ceasefire failed, because al-Qaeda didn’t honor it, Syria launched a new offensive, and has been pushing al-Qaeda out of some strategically important areas. Turkey had a military convoy headed into those newly contested areas targeted by an airstrike.

With Syrian forces now controlling Khan Sheikhoun, a small town on a big highway, Turkey doesn’t have a direct route to its post in nearby Morek. Turkey is ruling out leaving, but is setting themselves up for a fight with Syria over Idlib.

That may be a tough fight, with Turkish-backed rebels having already lost most of Idlib, and al-Qaeda neither widely supported, nor historically very eager to cooperate with other factions. Turkey’s determination to stay in these areas will eventually run up against their ability to supply posts deep in Syrian territory while being militarily hostile to Syria.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.