Kazakhstan is hosting the next round of talks in Astana. It’s about the site created by Russia, Turkey and Iran to solve the problem of the civil war in the Syrian Arab Republic. On April 25-26, in the capital of Kazakhstan, high-ranking officials of these countries, together with representatives of Syria and other guests, discuss the future of the SAR and the availability of opportunities to bring it out of the crisis. The meeting can be called mediocre – there have already been a large number of them, but this has not yet brought any sense. Negotiations within the framework of the “Geneva format”, supported by the UN and Western countries, did not bring any benefit either. Syria, as it was in a state of war, remains so, and some of its problems on this background are only aggravated. For example, the risks of disintegration into separate territories – there is a self-proclaimed Rojava and there is a north-west occupied by Turkey. But here, it seems, they intend to solve the last problem in the near future.
So, the other day, the Syrian general and military expert Haysem Hassun said that after the Astana meeting, the military operation of the Syrian Arab army and the Russian Aerospace against the separatists should resume. In this case, the goal is that Idlib, who was occupied by opposition fighters, was already going to storm last year, but at the request of Ankara, it was decided to abandon the use of force. And so far the real solution to the problem has not been found.
And the Syrian general says that the operation will begin soon. In fact, this means a war against Turkey, which is trying with all its might to keep Idlib in the form in which he now exists. For it, an operation against local militants faces serious consequences. First, the loss of prestige. Erdogan has long positioned himself as a defender of “oppressed Muslims”, in this case it concerns the Syrian opposition.
If Damascus starts a war, and Erdogan does not stop it, then Turkey can no longer claim to be a leader in the Islamic world. Secondly, all this threatens Ankara with another batch of refugees. Hundreds of thousands, and even a million Syrians, will necessarily try to get into the neighboring state, since there is simply nowhere else to run. This will create new problems for the Turkish economy, which is far from being in the best condition. So if Russia is really planning a war, then it will have to fight not so much against the opposition, as against Turkey. After all, it is for the interests of the latter that will deliver the most painful blow.
Russian orientalist and political scientist Oleg Gushin believes that in fact now the operation is unlikely.
- Without the approval of Turkey and without clear coordination with it, this operation is simply impossible, if, of course, Moscow wants to maintain good relations with Ankara. Apparently, it wants, so that something else is hardly possible. Because if it is done without Turkey, then for her, of course, it will not be a crisis, but a lot of trouble. Refugees, of which one and a half or two million, will arrive in even greater numbers. They need to be fed, put up tents for them and so on. This is all very expensive. But on the other hand, Turkey should definitely get rid of this “abscess” under the arm of Turkey. For her, this also does not threaten anything good – in Idlib there are many uncontrollable armed bearded men who do not know how to fight except. We must somehow decide. Right, it is not yet known how. But I think that if the operation really starts, then some option has already been found. It will actually be decided not even at the highest level – no higher than the major generals, I think.
– Could this happen under the scenario of the south-west? Then a large number of people fleeing the war, gathered near the border with Jordan, but the kingdom banned the passage. After the operation of the Syrian Arab Army ended, all the people were resettled in the territory of the republic.
- Jordan is a slightly different story. The refugees and militants simply realized that the Jordanians would shoot, so no one dared to risk. Turks are unlikely to be able to take such tough measures – it will strike at their ability in the future to win over the role of the leader of the Muslim world. And the Turks are much more civilized people than the Jordanians, at least, they position themselves that way. No, you need something else. In any case, if the operation starts, we will know that the parties have agreed. But now there are few real reasons for the sweep of Idlib to begin.