Turkey threatens the US, appeases Russia on Idlib
The Turkish state is imposing the establishment of a safe zone to the US to invade Northern and Eastern Syria. As they threaten the US with a new ploy, they appease Russia.
The Turkish state set up 12 observation points in Idlib and put up a shield for groups in Hayat Tahrir Al Sham (HTS) led by Al Nusra with the Sochi agreement, and now is trying to set up a ploy over Idlib to invade the east of the Euphrates under the guise of a “safe zone”.
The Turkish state has abused the conflict between the US and Russia since August 2016 and invaded Jarablus, Azaz, Bab and Afrin over it, and is now trying to continue the abuse a little while longer.
TWO DAY CEASEFIRE
Two days before the “safe zone” meetings the US and Turkey held in Ankara, guarantors for Syria Turkey, Russia and Iran met in Kazakhstan for the 13th Syrian Guarantors Meeting on August 3 and the Syrian regime declared a ceasefire in Idlib.
But, on the day the safe zone meetings started, the Syrian regime announced that the conditional ceasefire had been broken and clashes restarted in the area.
RUSSIA AND THE REGIME ADVANCING TO KHAN SHEIKHOUN
The Syrian army and Russia allied forces are advancing from the southeast and southwest towards the Khan Sheikhoun district to the south of Idlib. They have taken over many residential areas in the last week.
Regime and Russian forces advancing from both sides of the Turkish observation point in Morek to the south of Khan Sheikhoun have taken over the Kafr Ayn, Til Aas, Um Zaytun, Xirbe Mursid and Mintar villages.
Yesterday, the regime and Russian forces took over Kafr Zita, Erbain, Hobit, Madaya and Xirbet Abidin villages and the distance between the forces and Khan Sheikhoun was reduced to 3 km. The forces have advanced to 8 km from the town in the eastern front, and clashes continue with the gangs.
REGIME WARPLANE DOWNED
As Russian and regime air forces continue the intense airstrikes on the region, yesterday in the Tamanah village to the east of Khan Sheikhoun, a SU-22 warplane of the Syrian regime was downed by gangs. The pilot was taken prisoner.
COMPLETING THE CIRCLE
If Russian and regime forces take over Khan Sheikhoun, a significant portion of the M4 highway will have come under regime control. The highway was agreed to be opened as per the Sochi deal on September 17, 2018.
Taking Khan Sheikhoun will complete the circle and the Morek, Kefer Zeyta and Lataminah towns of significance will go under regime control.
TURKISH OBSERVATION POINT LEFT INSIDE THE CIRCLE
Meanwhile, the Turkish observation point in Morek to the south of Khan Sheikhoun is a point of concern. As the circle tightens and regime and Russian forces advance towards the observation point from both sides, Turkey hasn’t withdrawn forces.
SOCHI AGREEMENT AND NO-CONFLICT ZONE
Russian President Putin and Turkish President Erdogan came to an agreement in Sochi on September 17 that a 15 to 20 km area around Idlib would be declared a no-conflict zone. There were ten points in total in the agreement, including the opening of M4 and M5 trade routes.
It has been months since, but Turkey hasn’t fulfilled these obligations. When Russia started to issue harsher statements, by the end of December, Al Nusra took action against Turkey-backed groups and took over 90% of Idlib.
REGIME AND RUSSIA LAUNCHED OPERATIONS IN MAY
NATO got involved in Idlib but Turkey continued to protect gang groups to keep a strong negotiating hand. In May 2019, Russia and regime forces launched operations against the region. After statements by NATO, Turkey provided heavy weapons for the gangs and they in turn cost heavy losses to Russia and the regime.
APPEASING RUSSIA BEFORE TRIPLE SUMMIT
The Turkish state is trying to set up a strategy in Syria to keep abusing the conflict between the US and Russia for a while longer, and they are turning a blind eye to regime and Russian forces advancing towards Khan Sheikhoun to give a message to Russia before the triple summit to be held in Ankara on September 7 between Iran, Russia and Turkey that they are keeping their commitments.
RUSSIAN-TURKISH PATROLS IN SHEHBA
Meanwhile, Russia’s Reconciliation Center Chairperson Aleksei Bakin announced that Russian and Turkish soldiers carried out joint patrols in the Til Rifat region. Turkey has been asking Russia for permission for a while now to invade the Shehba region where people of Afrin migrated to after the invasion.
IDLIB BLACKMAIL FOR THE US
According to local sources, the Turkish state has remained silent in the Russian-regime operation against Khan Sheikhoun to give a message to the US and NATO, their biggest supporter in Idlib, that if they don’t accept Turkey’s wishes for the east of the Euphrates, they will leave Idlib to be taken by Russia and the regime.
Sources say the Khan Sheikhoun operation continuing like it does and Turkey (thus NATO and the US) not getting involved will possibly result in the region coming under regime and Russian control by September.