Official Ankara threatens to launch a military operation that will finally plunge the Middle East into chaos.
From day one, Turkish troops can invade the territory of Syrian Kurdistan to “clean” it from the rebels whom official Ankara calls terrorists. This could threaten a humanitarian crisis, the mildest consequence of which is the millions of refugees who rush to Turkey.
Syrian army hits Idlib again.
Syrian authorities announced that immediately after the end of Kurban Bayram (August 11), they will continue their ground offensive in the Idlib demilitarized zone. Recall that in addition to the province of Idlib, it also includes parts of the provinces of Aleppo, Hama and Latakia. After the 13th round of the Astana talks, it was decided to declare a ceasefire here.
However, despite a temporary ceasefire, on August 5, the Syrian army launched air strikes in the cities of Kafr Zita, Al-Latamin, Al-Zak and Khan Sheikhun. And soon after that, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported attacks on the Khmeimim base, which were carried out from militant-controlled territory in Idlib (according to conservative estimates, today there are at least 50 thousand armed terrorists).
As our and Syrian troops approach, Erdogan’s army retreats.
In recent months, the Syrian army has been campaigning in the demilitarized zone with varying success. For example, in early June, after a counterattack by armed rebels, it lost control of the cities of Tell Malach and Jubine, previously liberated from militants. The Syrian authorities, having accused the Turkish side of not fulfilling the agreement to deter the terrorist groups it supports, unsuccessfully tried to regain control of them until the end of July. But on the eve of negotiations in Astana, militants supported by Turkey nevertheless left previously occupied cities.
Americans set traps for Erdogan.
It is Turkey that today plays a huge role in Idlib, being a kind of guarantor of relative calm for local residents. But as the military presence of the Syrians increases, the Turkish side loses credibility in the eyes of local residents. In addition, the threat of a flow of refugees from the war-ridden Idlib, where it was not possible to achieve a full ceasefire, is becoming an increasingly important domestic political factor in Turkey itself.
Opponents of Recep Erdogan, whose position after losing the ruling party in the April municipal elections as shaky as ever, criticize him precisely for his inability to resolve the “Syrian” issue. Moreover, some criticize him for his excessive leniency (Erdogan never launched the promised military operation to “clean up” the territory to the west of the Euphrates from Kurdish militias, which official Ankara considers a threat to national security), others, on the contrary, for excessive brutality.
Relations between Turkey and the United States are also tightened, which openly support Kurdish militias. If, for example, the Turkish side demands the creation of a 20 km wide buffer demilitarized zone along the border with Syria, then the United States, on the contrary, agrees to create a much smaller area under joint Turkish-American control. The lack of understanding on this issue is obvious: Turkey intends to conduct a military operation in Kurdistan at all costs. But this will force not only the United States into conflict with the Turks, but also, possibly, Russia.
Professor Roshchin: Russia will be able to resolve all issues with the Turks
– How close is the end of the civil war in Syria?
- In my opinion, the conflict in Syria has passed into a sluggish stage, mainly due to the fact that Idlib was actually transferred to Turkish control. And here something is unlikely to change much in the near future, – says Professor Mikhail Roshchin, senior researcher at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
– The radical group “Hayat Tahrir al-Sham” is now based in Idlib, and it seems that the Turks are supporting it in an active state as a counterbalance to counter Kurdish troops, which, in turn, rely on American assistance.
The situation in this part of Syria has become a dead end. It could be changed by moving towards a political settlement in post-war Syria and the development of a new country’s constitution acceptable to various political forces, including opposition. But, unfortunately, political consultations have recently slowed down.
– In mid-July, Hezbollah announced its closure of its presence in Syria due to the fact that the army has been restored, and the presence of pro-Iranian forces in the country is no longer necessary. What consequences will this have?
– Hezbollah is a Lebanese political movement with well-armed troops. In view of the fact that the hot phase of the conflict in Syria has largely passed, and the Syrian Arab army has noticeably strengthened, it is only natural that Hezbollah plans to withdraw its troops to their homeland. In addition, in Syria, these units were regularly subjected to unprovoked attacks by Israeli aircraft.
– Given the tightening of the rhetoric of Turkey and the United States, in your opinion, is the realistic threat of a direct military clash between Americans, Turks and Russians in Syria?
– I think, given the recent positive experience of Russian-Turkish military cooperation related to the acquisition by Turkey of S-400 missiles, the rapprochement between Russia and Turkey, including militarily, will continue. That is, any controversial issues can be resolved on the basis of mutual consultations.
As for the Americans, I think they decided to hold on to their forces in Syria and Iraq until the next presidential election as an additional lever of influence on the mood of American voters. It is no coincidence that recently in the bowels of the Pentagon a report on the activation of the underground network of ISIS in Syria and Iraq appeared. And the need to counter them.