Syrian wind turning against Turkey - analysis
Turkey is coming to realise that the Syrian wind is turning against it as Damascus, backed by Moscow, has demonstrated its willingness to do everything to eliminate the armed opposition in northwestern province of Idlib, wrote former Turkish foreign minister Yaşar Yakış in his column for Arab News on Sunday.
A ferocious military offensive by Syrian and Russian government forces in Syria’s last rebel-held province of Idlib has forced has forced tens of thousands of civilians to flee towards Turkey.
If this number continues to increase, Yakış wrote, Turkey will be faced with a security risk, because many terrorists may be among those civilians.
Ankara maintains that the only way to put into action the terms of the Sochi agreement - which stipulates that a buffer zone in a 15 to 20 square kilometre area is supposed to separate Syrian troops and rebels in Idlib, and will be monitored by Russian and Turkish troops - is to prevent the regime’s attack on civilians.
Syrian authorities, Yakış said, ‘’may continue to bomb civilian targets to force them to flee and later bomb the same places more intensively in order to exterminate the armed opposition,’’ as part of an effort to embarrass Turkey by amassing refugees at the border.
Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan last month to hold talks as the two leaders seek common ground on the Syrian conflict, among other items on the agenda.
The pair have failed to agree on the issue of Idlib, Yakış wrote.
“We decided to work together to eliminate the terrorist groups that are still operating in the Idlib province and consequently in Syria as a whole,” Putin said after the meeting, which shows that Putin is remaining firm in his call for Ankara to ‘’cooperate in eliminating terrorist groups,’’ the analyst wrote.
Moscow has been accusing Ankara of failing to carry out its obligations under the Sochi agreement to rein in the Islamist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).
There is no solution in sight for Idlib, according to Yakış, and all of the disagreements on the topic are bound to be discussed in trilateral summit between Turkey, Russia and Iran set to take place next month.