There is no doubt that the command of the Syrian and Russian armed forces had trustworthy data about the ongoing communication between Turkish military intelligence and the leaders of large militant groups in "the Idlib de-escalation zone." One is well aware of the quality and quantity of targeted deliveries of arms and equipment to terrorists...
It's no secret that until recently Turkish special operations troops had fought shoulder to shoulder with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and the Turkestan Islamic Party (both terrorist organizations are banned in Russia) in Idlib.
Certainly, these issues were raised in a series of telephone negotiations between presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan and defense ministers Sergei Shoigu and Hulusi Akar, as well as meetings of representatives of the general staff of the Russian and Turkish armed forces as part of the joint military cooperation group.
Undoubtedly, Reuters' reports on this topic aren't fiction; however, the time chosen for their publication and the current situation on the ground suggest that their goal was provocative aiming to cool down Russian-Turkish relations.
It is a fact that the last Turkish military delivery, which was rather large, allowed the militants to take from the governmental army the strategically important town of Kafr Nabudah at the administrative border of the provinces of Idlib and Hama. But the retreat of the Syrian troops was organized and was made at the command's orders. Four days later, on May 27, the Syrian army took the won back and defeated the militants on the nearby dominating heights.
Several day before the counterattack Turkey had given several multiple rocket launchers, a large number of Russian- and American-made Kornet and TOW portable antitank systems and a large number of ammunition to militants from the Free Syrian Army and the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which was formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra. The Turkish military and political leadership refused to dismantle 12 observation posts along the border and inside "the Idlib zone," thus significantly reinforcing and turning them into militants supply bases.
It's a well-known fact that Turkish intelligence is passing data on the positions and actions of the Syrian governmental troops to the militants, while Turkish military advisers are attached to the staff of the illegal armed groups. Several units of the so-called Syrian National Army have been redeployed from military training centers in Turkey to the provinces of Latakia and Aleppo for "combat testing and operational coordination." The Syrian National Army was formed and trained by Turkish military. It was inactive and its purpose was to combat the Syrian Kurds.
The Russian and Syrian command preferred to prioritize their own actions rather than make actions of the Defense Ministry of Turkey public. For example, Syrian artillery and joint strikes of the Russian and Syrian air forces timely brought down fire on some militants redeployed to the provinces of Latakia and Aleppo...
Naturally, the Turkish leadership prefers to deny Russia's reproaches. Recep Tayyip Erdogan wouldn't be a Turk, if he acted differently in this situation... Obsessed by the idea of neutralizing the military infrastructure of the Syrian Kurds, the Turkish president is nourishing a dream of creating an Ankara-controlled "security zone" in northern Syria that is rich with oil, gas, water and agriculture lands.
And taking over this territory requires fighting a war. The Turkish army may sustain significant losses during such a war, which is fraught with Erdogan's losing power. Erdogan expected to use Syrian militants as "cannon fodder" in combats with the Kurds. It seems that Russia and Syria are thwarting his cherished dream.
The Russian command returned a group of its observers to the community of Tell-Rifaat in the Afrin enclave and reinforced it with military police without an agreement with Turkey. Now Moscow will have enough forces and means to control Turkish military deliveries to Syrian terrorists.