US magazine: Dispute escalates between Russians, Turks, in Syrian Idlib

Tensions between Turkey and Russia has intensified dramatically on Monday, when Russian-Syrian warplanes bombed a Turkish army convoy in Syria, resulted in the killing at least three people, according to an opinion piece published in the Washington magazine Ekseminar.

The magazine pointed out that the Syrian-Russian ground forces are very close and seeks to block the road to Turkish forces in order not to reach the highway north of the city of Khan Sheikhoun, which is controlled by mercenaries.

Turkey needs the M-5 highway to strengthen a Turkish military observation near of the administrative border between the Syrian provinces of Hama and Idlib.

Alongside the airstrikes, the situation surrounding Khan Sheikhoun testifies to the efforts of the rising Russian-regime alliance to significantly reduce Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's influence in Syria.

Erdogan has consistently supported mercenary gangs in Syria, including the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda Heyat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which the magazine saw as angering both the Russians and the Syrian regime.


The magazine pointed out that the regime and the Russians are seeking to stop Turkey's access to its control center, which can later push Turkey out of Hama province and weaken Erdogan.

This will allow the Russians and the regime to form a space for a final attack on Idlib province, which is important, according to the magazine, because Idlib is the last remaining mercenary gangs in Syria.

The magazine refers to the words of Charles Lister, a former fellow at the Brookings Institution, the US: "Turkey responded to the air strike on its forces by deploying combat aircraft in Syrian airspace controlled by Russia."

Lester sees it as an attempt to get Vladimir Putin to reassess his decision to unleash the regime or face Turkish military countermeasures.

The magazine expects that Putin will gamble out of Erdogan's inability to withstand the escalating fighting, and that the Russians may have to target Turkish planes with the same type of missiles that Turkey bought from Russia "S-400".

Nonetheless, internally weak Erdogan may see a brief escalation as an opportunity to rally his Brotherhood nationalist base and then reach a ceasefire on better terms.



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