The Syrian Turkmen militia, renowned for supporting the Turkish army against the PKK/YPG, has just received at least two Leopard 2A4 tanks (upgraded version featuring a digital computer).
These tanks are manufactured by the German company Krauss-Maffei, which supplied the near totality of NATO forces throughout the 1980’s. The Turkish army bought 340 of them, around 50 of which were deployed in Syria and about a dozen were destroyed in battle.
This is the first time that a militia in the Middle Eastern theater is endowed with modern armoured fighting vehicles.
It is unclear whether Germany was notified in advance of this arms transfer. Labeled as "Syrian National Army" (SNA), the Turkmen militia is based in Idlib where it is protecting the al-Qaeda affiliates currently ensconced there. French and German "NGOs" are on hand to provide food and care.
The Idlib governorate is separated from the rest of Syria by a ceasefire zone patrolled by Russian ground forces. Previous agreements, signed by Turkey, provided for the withdrawal of all heavy weapons from the Idlib governorate. Since the agreements were violated, the Syrian Arab Army deployed troops to drive the jihadists out of Al Qaeda, with the support of Russian aviation.
It’s anybody’s guess as to what the Russian reaction might be if its troops were to cross paths with these tanks. In November 2015, the Turkish air force shot down a Russian Su-24, then Turkmen militia Grey Wolves leader Alparslan Celik wittingly finished off one of the Russian pilots, Oleg Peshkov. A major crisis ensued pitting the Russian Federation against Turkey and NATO.