A few days ago, representatives of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation hotly denied reports of the media about the attacks of the Russian Aero Space Forces in Syrian Idlib. According to the military, our aircraft did not perform combat missions in the rebellious governorate. The reason for such a statement was the message that Russian planes were seen in the sky over Idlib last Monday. The fact is that Russian planes can be in the sky of Idlib very often, but this does not have to be associated with the bombing of objects.
The fact that the flight of airplanes in most cases is accompanied by explosions of certain objects in the province is explained by the desire of individual terrorist groups to pass off their activities as Russian aggression. Yes, we have been repeatedly informed of such provocations, and, given the methods of warfare of terrorists, this is readily believed. There were even cases when the armed opposition tried to blame transport aircraft of the Russian Federation for strikes, apparently failing to correctly identify the aircraft.
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It should be noted that usually the Ministry of Defense, in the case of strikes by our forces, recognizes this immediately. This was the case on March 13, when Russian aircraft inflicted many strikes on the city of Idlib and on certain districts, which are located west of the capital of the province of the same name. But there is one feature about which was not officially reported – at about the same time news from Idlib reached about the activity of Turkish aviation. It reportedly also attacked the province, but only in the northern regions. This factor changes everything. It has long been rumored that the Russian Federation and Turkey, tired of treachery and intransigence of Jabhat al-Nusra, intend to deal with it. This time the terrorists of this group were attacked by the Russian and Turkish air forces.
It is very interesting that on Wednesday, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that Moscow and Ankara are now actively engaged in the development of a “joint coordination center.” What is it for, if communication channels have been available for a long time? Probably something is brewing in Idlib.
Russian political scientist and orientalist Oleg Gushchin believes that joint Russian-Turkish participation is, of course, possible, but Turkey is unlikely to allow serious hostilities even against Jabhat al-Nusra. For Ankara, this will threaten with another pile of refugees and, as a result, serious economic problems. Therefore, pinpoint strikes will occur, but it’s likely that they will not crush a full-fledged military force now.
- The reasons for the fighting to not start now a lot. But the most important is the problem of refugees. If serious hostilities begin, huge crowds of refugees, hundreds of thousands, or even a million, will rush to Turkey. And Ankara will have to take care of them, equip them, feed them and so on. There are enough Syrians there, and with the new waves of refugees, their number will simply become dangerous. The war against Jabhat al-Nusra is threatened with just such consequences.
– To agree with this group, apparently, will not work – they themselves refuse to negotiate and continue to wage war against all. How then to solve this problem, if not by force?
– Let’s try to imagine how many of these terrorists in Idlib can be. At least a few thousand, and by average estimates – not less than ten. Ideally, of course, it would be good if these thousands took and evaporated, no matter how. But this, we understand, will not happen. To crush them, in principle, it is possible. For the same Turkish army, this will have no difficulty. But there is such a moment, that in any defeat, in the overwhelming majority of cases, there are fewer dead than prisoners. And what will the Turks do with these five to seven thousand prisoners? It’s so much fuss – either to distribute them to one’s own prisons, which is already out of the question, or to give them to Assadists. The latter, if terrorists fall into their hands, are likely to kill everyone. This may not be so bad, but it is fraught with big problems in the process of restoring a peaceful Syrian state.
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– In general, is a joint Russian-Turkish operation possible at all?
- Individual episodes are possible. In general, Russian-Turkish military cooperation is a unique thing. This has not happened since the time of Admiral Ushakov. There were many Russian-Turkish wars, but cooperation is a rare phenomenon.
So with the successful coordination of issues and with the involvement of Damascus anything is possible. Point blows, I repeat, can occur regularly, but serious hostilities are more difficult.
In general, I think that for the time being they will not seriously touch Jabhat al-Nusra – they will allow her to “ripen”. In fact, it is now under siege – they do not have a constant influx of finances, and in Idlib there is no such resource, due to which it would be possible to enrich themselves, and the people are all poor. Over time, this will lead to the fact that the most reasonable part of the group will prefer to surrender, and fanatics, who will not have too much left, will be dealt with by military force.