Flirting with Turkey turned out to be a failure for Russia, but having drawn into them, you need to make big bets, said orientalist Semyon Baghdasarov. Video in Russian:
Turkey is ready to start a military operation in Idlib
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, speaking to members of the ruling Justice and Development Party, said that Ankara was ready to start a military operation in Idlib.
“If the countries with which we are negotiating do not do what is needed in Idlib, we will do it ourselves. Until we get a negotiation result that would satisfy us. We are fully prepared for our own operation in Idlib, it’s only a matter of time, we can start it at any moment, this is a vital operation for us, “Erdogan said.
He added that over the phone he discussed the possible actions of Turkey with US President Donald Trump.
This is the worst scenario in Russia-Turkey relations
In September 2018, Russia and Turkey agreed to create a demilitarized zone in Idlib, where there are more than a dozen different armed groups. However, Turkey did not fulfill the conditions for the disarmament of the radical groups that constantly bombarded the positions of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and civilians.
At the end of January, the SAA launched an offensive in Aleppo province, today it liberated all and half of Idlib province, so 13 out of 30 Turkish observation posts were surrounded.
Vladimir Putin’s press officer, Dmitry Peskov, called the worst-case scenario possible operation against Syria.
Is Russia ready?
According to Semyon Baghdasarov, director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Central Asia, told Pravda.Ru, Idlib has already concentrated 7,000 troops of the regular armed forces of the Turkish army and over 2,000 pieces of armored vehicles.
“Erdogan is ready to start. Are we ready? This is the most interesting question. I think that flirting with Turkey was wrong. I believe that all people who work in the Turkish direction should be removed from their posts. This is a complete failure.
According to Semyon Baghdasarov, in order not to deeply engage ourselves, we must provide the Syrian leadership with an opportunity to urgently agree with the branch of the Kurdistan Workers Party, the Democratic Union Party, which has a military wing fighting in Syria (YPG), to form a separate corps.
In fact, this can be quickly done, which will dramatically increase the combat capability of the Syrian army. And we must help with technology, the expert said. If Erdogan openly intervenes in the intra-Syrian struggle, then Syria must intervene in the intra-Turkish agenda:
- support the Kurdistan Workers Party;
- various Marxist-Leninist local groups;
- file a claim for the return of the Alexandretta Sanjak illegally selected in 1939.
“We need to play big, as Erdogan plays, otherwise we will lose,” Semyon Baghdasarov concluded.
In 1939–1940, the Alexandretta Sanjak, a multinational region that turned into an ethnically homogeneous Turkish Iskenderun, was torn away from Syria.
The situation in Idlib is explosive
According to the Russian military-diplomatic source, despite statements about the desire to resolve the situation in Idlib by diplomatic methods, Ankara is actively transferring personnel, weapons and military equipment to the “de-escalation zone”. Now there are collected more than 70 tanks, about 200 armored combat vehicles, and 80 field artillery guns. On February 1, 2020, in the course of neutralizing the attempt to break through terrorists into one of the Aleppo districts, four FSB officers of Russia, who were in Syria on a business trip, were killed.
The main concern is the use by militants in Idlib of American man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS). Over the past ten days, two helicopters of the Syrian army were shot down.
Negotiations in Moscow on February 17 with the Turkish side ended without the announcement of the results; a new agreement on Idlib was not reached.