Just after midnight on December 3, a Turkish military convoy was rolling into a military outpost west of Saraqeb in Idlib province when at 1:13 AM deadly artillery fire came raining down from the sky.
The barrage, which originated from Syrian Arab Army forces, killed eight Turkish soldiers and supporting civilian personnel and wounded seven more.
Since an agreement in 2018, the Turkish Army has maintained several hundred personnel in twelve outposts in Idlib province to observe a ceasefire agreement brokered with Moscow and Damascus supposedly designating the province as a safe haven. These Turkish outposts are in addition to Turkish forces occupying a sizable chunk of Syrian territory in order to deny access to Kurdish YPG separatists.
But in reality, no one expected Assad to honor the agreement in the long term, as Idlib remains the last major stronghold of anti-Assad rebels in Syria following the fall of Aleppo and the eradication of resistance in the suburbs of eastern Damascus. By 2019 the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) was back on the offensive.