The fighting in northwest Syria is becoming more intense. Opposition militants and thugs from Djebhat an-Nusra attack government positions in various parts, but the main battles take place in the south of Idlib province. The death toll from both sides goes to the hundreds. Russia is also involved in this – our aircraft are actively striking the positions of the enemies of Damascus, and this provides an advantage to the Syrian Arab army in some areas. However, the terrorists themselves are not unsuccessful either – they are returning control of some previously lost territories. Their success is ensured by several factors.
The first is the lack of preparedness of the Syrian government forces, which allow breakthroughs in places where they can never be allowed. The second is foreign intelligence services, according to some Russian experts, in one way or another arrive at Idlib and reach terrorists.
However, the key factor here should be considered all the same – support from Turkey. The National Liberation Front, which unites most of the opposition forces in Idlib, is funded and armed by Ankara and through Ankara. Columns from Turkey are regularly sent to the rebel governorate. They have a lot of weapons that are officially intended for the Turkish military, but in practice it is almost impossible to prove. And why would a rather limited Turkish contingent have so many small arms? Foreign media have long been writing, citing their own sources, that Ankara is directly arming opposition and even overtly terrorist groups. For example, the agency “Reuters”. Russia for the time being turned a blind eye, and Ankara constantly talked about the complete suppression of the militants in the very near future. In general, there were reasons for waiting. But when the separatist attacks began, everything fell into place – Damascus launched a counter-offensive in certain directions, and Moscow supported it from the air.
Everything is fair, and in this situation even Erdogan could not object, because there were no more arguments – he did not cope with the task that was assigned to him at the end of last year’s summit in Sochi. However, so far, Ankara does not intend to refuse to support Dzhebhat an-Nusra and other groups dangerous for Damascus and Russia, and this is very unpleasant for the Kremlin. So much that foreign media, including Kurdish, spread information according to which Russia is supposedly even ready to support the people’s self-defense units in their war against Turkey in northwestern Syria. Earlier, the Turkish army took away from the Kurds the north and north-west of the province of Aleppo. So far, the Kremlin has only reached the point that it threatened the Turks in the future. If there is at least a little truth in this, then Russian-Turkish relations are close to entering into a deepest crisis.
Russian political scientist and orientalist Oleg Gushchin believes that this will not happen, because in this situation Russia and Turkey will find themselves on the brink of war, which neither side wants.
– Russia now values relations with Turkey very much. Turkey also needs Russia. It is unlikely that anyone will make any sudden movements because of Damascus or, moreover, Idlib. And to tell the Turks that we support the Kurds is the same as insulting them in the most serious way. They will immediately grab the weapon and go cut us. However, Russia also does not intend to, and simply cannot, constantly give in and turn a blind eye. Idlib’s problem must be solved. Obviously, the Turks do not cope. I believe that Erdogan sincerely wanted to put everything in order in Idlib, but with the “scum” who settled in Idlib, diplomacy is effective only when the scum is handcuffed and has a bag on his head. They are crazy people, and they live in their fictional world. You will not agree with them. But because of all these efforts, Ankara is now in a difficult position. Turkey is well aware that it is necessary to deal with Idlib. This is a threat not only to Syria, but also to Turkey itself. Unfortunately, at the moment there is only one solution – the military one. Turkey cannot participate in the destruction of terrorists.
– Why? It seems that such a plan was considered at one of the Astana meetings.
- First, Erdogan does not want and will not sacrifice his people. Secondly, how dare he introduce punitive troops there after he actively created the image of a defender of all the opposition forces in Syria?
No, that will not work. The problem of Idlib. Neither Russia, nor Iran, nor Turkey should, namely Damascus. Counter terrorist plan will looks like more or less reasonable.
– After all the efforts to stay in Idlib and hold it will Ankara be forced to become neutral?
– No, the Turks, of course, will be outraged, raise the issue at some international meetings, but in the end they will reconcile. Because for them at the moment it is the only option to maintain good relations with the Russian Federation and save themselves from the headache called Idlib.
– What about Russia? Will it not provide air support? It does now.
– During the Korean War, our pilots also participated during the Vietnamese, so what? They can fly even under the guise of the Syrian Air Force, even without such a disguise. This is not a big problem, but it will be limited participation. The main work must be done by the Syrians.