- Russian Warplanes Repel Attack on Syrian Army in Idlib as Militants Launch Offensive Aided by Turkish Artillery — Moscow
Tensions are boiling over between Ankara and Damascus as Turkey vowed to take matters into its own hands and openly intervene in Syria’s Idlib province, where government forces are routing the Turkish-backed militants.
The troubled north-western province is the last major bastion of the militants in war-torn Syria. It saw another round of escalating violence on Thursday. Local armed groups seeking to push back the Syrian Army from the territories along the strategic highway it recently seized were counting on support from Turkish artillery, which only stood down after Russian forces in the area intervened.
Ankara does not plan to back down, however, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently declared that a Turkish offensive in Idlib is just “a matter of time.” Meanwhile, Moscow has described any direct Turkish military involvement in Syria as the “worst-case scenario.” How likely is it to happen?
“Judging by Erdogan’s statements, it appears that the Turks are quite determined” to follow through on their threat, ‘Russia in Global Affairs’ Editor-in-Chief Fyodor Lukyanov told RT, adding that Idlib has become an arena of a geopolitical struggle between Ankara and Damascus – and therefore its allies in Moscow as well.
Russia has tried to mediate the conflict, but so far the talks with Turkey have not yielded any practical results, while the situation on the ground is heating up. Lukyanov noted that Ankara has managed to avoid a “full-blown interstate war” only because the troops actually fighting in Idlib are Al-Qaeda affiliated militants that Ankara is backing as proxies.