The use of anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) by militant groups against the Syrian Army in Idlib province has fallen to almost zero as of the final days of August.
Even pro-militant Syrian conflict analysts and media sources have commented on the phenomenon which has seen the use of ATGMs by insurgent factions in southern Idlib and northern Hama provinces slowly ramp-up from early June to reaching a peak in about late July to since dropping to almost nothing in the last ten days of August.
Since the Syrian Army kicked-off its Greater Idlib ground offensive against Islamist groups in early May, about 100 guided missiles from various systems have been used by militant groups during the three and a half months since.
Admittedly, the number could actually be higher, perhaps as high as 150, given that insurgent factions rarely record the use of ATGM shots that miss the intended target.
However, the sure but steady increase followed by the sudden and rapid decrease of Islamist ATGM use over the course of the Syrian Army operation has betrayed a long suspected reality – that Turkey, as a foreign interloper, was the one providing these sophisticated medium-level weapon systems to the militants in Idlib.
Indeed, Turkey’s guilt in this regard is proven by the simple fact that if the insurgents had all the ATGMs used so far as a pre-offensive stockpile, they would have been spent in the highest frequency at the start and then gradually dropped off towards the end.
And if that is not enough, then one only needs to assess the current attitude on pro-militant social media right now – an attitude which is highly critical of Turkey’s lack of intervention in Idlib, a major part of this lack of intervention being identified by these sources as the sudden “collapse” (or rather, withholding) of ATGM supplies by Turkey.