Battle for Idlib Syria map
click map to enlarge
By Craig C. White
One month ago the Syrian Army in Hamah was about to attack the Al-Qaeda held province of Idlib in northwestern Syria. That attack was thwarted due to a deal that Turkey made with Russia. Turkey promised to pull back Al-Qaeda’s heavy weaponry and troops from Syrian held regions. Under the agreement the Al-Qaeda forces were required to move a few miles away from the Syrian held borders of the Hamah and Aleppo provinces creating a 15-20 kilometer demilitarized zone. Turkey says that their mission has been accomplished ahead of the October 15th deadline. There are several Al-Qaeda rebel groups fighting in Idlib. These rebel groups are typically not Syrian but consist of foreign jihadists from all over the Middle East. Most of the Al-Qaeda factions in Idlib have cooperated but the Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra group is still holding their ground near the northern Hamah border.
Turkey has supported all of these Sunni Al-Qaeda factions throughout the Syrian war and had already established a chain of command between the Turkish Army and the varying Al-Qaeda factions. During this de-escalation exercise Turkey has been able to strengthen their chain of command as well as inventory troops and heavy weapons inside of Idlib. Turkey has also strengthened their military positions located along the Hamah and Allepo borders in Idlib. There are only 30,000 Syrian troops in Hamah and they are strained by seven years of constant fighting. Turkey now commands 70,000 Al-Qaeda troops inside of Idlib. Turkey also commands 50,000 Free Syrian Army troops in Idlib. The Free Syrian Army is yet another Al-Qaeda branch consisting of Sunni jihadists from northern Africa, mostly Libya and Sudan (Eze 38:5). Turkish President Erdogan has vowed to remove Syrian President Assad from power in Damascus. A Turkish led attack on Hamah is a real possibility.
The Prophet Jeremiah predicts the destruction of Damascus. Jeremiah says that Hamah and Arpad will first hear evil reports and be terrified.
Jeremiah 49:23 Concerning Damascus. Hamath is confounded, and Arpad: for they have heard evil tidings: they are fainthearted; there is sorrow on the sea; it cannot be quiet.
We can see that a Turkish led attack on Hamah could easily happen. Jeremiah also identifies Arpad. Arpad is called Tell Rifaat today. Tell Rifaat is the last remaining Kurdish held city in the Afrin region. The Turkish Army gained control over most of Afrin during their “Operation Olive Branch” campaign earlier this year. The Turkish Army is also amassed to the north and west of Tell Rifaat.
Take a look at the “Battle for Idlib, Syria” map. We can see where all of these forces are arrayed. But most of all read Jeremiah 49:23. Before Damascus is destroyed the northwestern Syria cities of Hamah and Tell Rifaat will hear evil reports. It is likely that these evil reports are that Turkey is leading Al-Qaeda against them.