A few days after the control of Hayet Tahrir al-Sham "Jabhet al-Nusra" on large areas in the western countryside of Aleppo and the southern countryside of Idlib, Hayet Tahrir al-Sham mercenaries have recently threatened the fighters of the so-called "National Liberation Front" to invade Ariha and Maaret al-Numan if the latter did not withdraw. Hayet Tahrir al-Sham extended its control over the entire buffer zone agreed upon by the Russian President Putin and the Turkish President in September 17 last year. Thus, they would control the main trade routes linking Aleppo and Damascus, Lattakia and Hama alone. This raises many questions about the future of the Turkish-Russian agreement and who supports al-Nusra and why?!
In the last quarter of last year, there was talk in the political arena between Ankara and Russia about a Russian-Turkish plan that included the necessity of the return of trade routes, especially those linking Bab al-Hawa crossing border in Idlib, Aleppo and Lattakia in an indication to the return of the implicit trade between Turkey and Syria and to Jordan which Syria opened the Syrian border of Nassib with at the end of last year. This commercial line that connects the Syrian north with the coast, and from it to the Syrian interior and the Lebanese border is a Russian plan to promote the commercial sector in Syria which constitutes a land bridge between the Middle East, Europe and the Gulf states through Jordan, Iran and Iraq in addition to the contribution to restore the Syrian economy as part of its vitality which was burdened by years of continuous war, in addition to the political objectives to break the Arab and regional isolation on the Syrian regime.
Hayet Tahrir al-Sham actually controls the trade routes in the north
Al-Nusra which has been classified as a terrorist organization in the international and Turkish lists recently, has implemented its plan to dominate the international roads linking northern and central Syria to the west. It has recently completed its control of the two roads linking Bab al-Hawa border with Turkey in Aleppo, and it mobilized its militants to extend its influence to Ariha city, the last stronghold outside its control on the road of Aleppo-Latakia and in the vicinity of Maarat al-Numan, the only town on the Aleppo-Hama highway. This came after it completed its control of Atareb city and Daret Ezza city and the expulsion of the mercenaries of Nour al-Din al-Zenki and other allied groups with it from that area.
Hayet Tahrir al-Sham isolated Idlib area from the northern countryside of Aleppo by closing the roads between Afrin which is occupied by the Turkish army and Idlib after controlling the border between Afrin and Idlib. These developments are ongoing under the eyes of Turkey whose mercenaries are deployed into 13 observation points, but the Turkish silence is still continuing with the extension of the mercenaries of Hayet Tahrir al-Sham which was protecting the Turkish conveys during their entry into Syria after Astana Agreement entered into forces to deploy the Turkish checkpoints in Idlib.
Is it the folly of the opposition that contributed to the expansion of al-Nusra?
Here, we can ask about the Turkish role in the expansion of terrorism in Idlib and is Turkey really supports this expansion?
Perhaps the incident of shooting fire on a convoy of the mercenaries of Ahrar al-Sham Islamic Movement from Afrin to Daret Ezza to support the mercenaries of al-Zenki there by the mercenaries of al-Sultan Murad shortens all the answers and analyzes.
Turkey has prevented, according to sources from inside Afrin, any of its mercenaries, especially the Turkmens, "al-Sultan Murad and al-Hamzat" from interfering in the fight against Jabhet Tahrir al-Sham, and the goal here was to get rid of some of the mercenary groups that were linked to America and other Gulf countries until 2017, including the Islamic movements under the roof of the National Liberation Front (It was formed in 2018 under the direction of the Turkish Intelligence to legitimize the presence of Turkey in Idlib and hit Jabhet Tahrir al-Sham through them in return for direct Turkish financial funding), but it seems that after months of political and media promotion of this front, the front did not provided the Turkish Intelligence Service and only caused security disturbances; the assassinations of elements and commanders of Tahrir al-Sham mercenaries and the kidnapping of civilians for ransom.
Turkey is the actual leader of al-Nusra
Turkey will not find it difficult to co-exist with the mercenaries of Jabhet Tahrir al-Sham that are currently controlling Idlib and its environs. They work to manage Idlib city in terms of service and administration through the Government of Rescue. The Turkish side provides indirect support through financial support institutions. Turkey controls the decision of other terrorist groups, especially the Turkish Islamic Party which is the most powerful part of al-Nusra, in addition to the indirect relations between it and the Russian side in terms of trade which opened Morek crossing between the countryside of Hama and areas controlled by the Russian-sponsored regime as the goal was to reinforce trade and the return of refugees to areas of the Syrian regime.
So there are international political and economic complications that may affect the future of the region in the near future, specifically with regard to the Russian-Turkish agreements and Ankara's ability to fight terrorism.
What are the political objectives of al-Nusra movement?
The takeover of Jabhet al-Nusra mercenaries on the scene in Idlib automatically separates the mercenary groups of Turkey on the basis of radical Islam on the one hand, and on the ability of the remaining of these groups on the ground without the Turkish military cover directly on the other hand. Turkey will use this card against the armed groups that are still linked to the international and regional forces with the aim of forcing them to work in favor of Turkey and thus, they would be obliged to fight in the battlefields of Manbij and East Euphrates or to face Jabhet al-Nusra in the north of Syria.
This is the scenario closest to the reality in the military game in Idlib which does not appear to come from a vacuum, but is the implementation of the Russian-Turkish scheme with the implicit support of the Syrian regime, and the goals here are multiple; ending the existence of the so-called Syrian opposition in Idlib, putting the military and political pressure on Syrian Democratic Forces by directing hordes of mercenaries to the east of the Euphrates and threatening to bring Syria back to zero if the Syrian regime or Iran tries to change the rules of the game by direct threat against the security of Aleppo, Hama, Homs, and opening several fronts in the area with direct Turkish support.
In addition to the above, it can be said that in the presence of Jabhet al-Nusra, the regional and international powers (Russia and Turkey) can implement their agreements that have become dead with the recent developments in Syria in general and repositioning the forces after the US decision to withdraw from Syria, and that this form of control will give al-Nusra a double force economically and military because Idlib today represents an important economic and trade center, and the terms of the Turkish-Russian agreement to open commercial routes will be achieved soon.