The future of Idlib against the backdrop of Turkish military points withdrawal and the repeated Russian targeting
In Focus | The future of Idlib against the backdrop of Turkish military points withdrawal and the repeated Russian targeting
On October 29, Turkey began the evacuation of the tenth observation point in Shir Maghar, north of Hama, 10 days after dismantling the ninth observation point in Morek.
Russia targeted a military training camp for the Syrian National Army in al-Dweila, north of Idlib at the same time when Turkey began to evacuate the military points from the areas controlled by the Syrian regime.
Before the Russian targeting operation of the training facility, Turkey and Russia had held a new round of talks at the expert level in the capital, Moscow, to discuss common contentious issues in Syria, Libya and the Caucasus.
The contentious issues in Syria between the two sides often focus on the Turkish military deployment, combating terrorism, the fate of trade and transportation, the return of the displaced, the political process, and the fate of the safe zone.
It is possible that Turkey resorted to discussing the military deployment issue for the first time, hoping it would contribute to reducing tension with Russia. The later fears a severe slowdown in resolving the fate of trade and transport and combating terrorism issue, at a time when Turkey is reinforcing its military presence in northwestern Syria.
However, the targeting of Faylaq al-Sham in Idlib is an indication of Russia's dissatisfaction with the current management of the crisis, as Turkey often does not want to undermine the strategy of dividing the disagreements; i.e. continue to separate between the files of Azerbaijan, Syria and Libya.
In other words, keeping the calm in Syria must be accompanied by Turkey's exercise of more influence over Azerbaijan, in order to ensure a ceasefire in Karabag. As Turkey does not merely accept the resumption of discussion of the remaining contentious issues about Syria, in an attempt to appease and buy time to strengthen its position, militarily and diplomatically, inside and outside the latter.
Furthermore, the mutual desire of Russia and Turkey is not enough to maintain close cooperation, which will not necessarily be damaged if the ceasefire regime in Syria is undermined again. Meaning the two parties will start negotiations again at the brink of the abyss, as happened at the beginning of 2020.
Thus, Russia's resumption of the military campaign on Idlib may be a necessary option in light of the continuing disputes and raging rivalry with Turkey, which may work to dissuade Russia from this option by also hinting at the resumption of combat operations east of the Euphrates as a result of the slowdown in the implementation of commitments.
Note that Russia is trying to limit the Turkish presence in Turkey and the Syrian opposition presence in a security zone north of the M4 highway, while Turkey is making an effort to make the Spring Shield Operation a safe zone similar to the Euphrates Shield, the Olive Branch and the Peace Spring.
Unit of Analysis and Thinking - Jusoor for Studies
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