Damascus and Ankara have both been amassing forces in Idlib, deploying reserves on the front line in the northwestern part of Syria. Heightened deployment activity was noted on February 22.
For the first time, the reinforcements dispatched by Ankara to the front line have included Leopard 2A4 battle tanks, the primary strike force of Turkey’s infantry. All of the battle tanks in this family are in the active army, which indicates their prominence in the Turkish Armed Forces.
According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, one year ago Ankara possessed 316 Leopard 2A4s, 170 Leopard 1A4s and 227 Leopard 1A3s. The primary features of the upgrade to the 2A4 model are a fully digital fire control system and an improved tower with titanium/tungsten armor.
At the same time, the Assad regime has been sending additional forces to the front line, including motorized infantry and mechanized and artillery units. However, as they approach the combat area, they risk “encountering” jihadists. One video shows how a tank (or self-propelled gun) that was being towed was destroyed by an anti-tank missile. Apparently the Syrian army has serious difficulty holding onto their battle tanks, and not only on the battle field.