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Syrian Army on the Outskirts of Khan Sheikhoun

Aug. 19, 2019 (EIRNS)—According to breaking reports from Al Masdar News, units of the Syrian army have begun assaulting jihadi positions inside Khan Sheikhoun itself after making advances over the past several days into farm fields to the west and north of that city. According to earlier reports, jihadis of Hayat Tahrir as Sham (HTS), the main jihadi group controlling Khan Sheikhoun, had launched a counterattack to retake a key hilltop near the city but were beaten back by the Syrian Arab Army with heavy casualties.

Turkey so far has refrained from criticism of the Syrian offensive—perhaps, as some pundits suggest—to avoid offending Russia; but nonetheless, Turkey appears to be in a state of near panic about it. According to the Syrian Foreign Ministry, a Turkish military convoy is carrying ammunition, weapons and matériel to the jihadis defending Khan Sheikhoun.

“The Syrian Arab Republic strongly condemns this flagrant Turkish violation and it holds the Turkish Regime fully responsible for the consequences of this stark violation of the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic which constitutes an outrageous breach of the international law’s provisions,”

a source in the ministry told SANA.

Al Masdar also reports that a convoy from the National Liberation Front, a Turkish-backed opposition militia, is also on its way to southern Idlib to reinforce the jihadis.

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