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Turkey desperately trying to prevent the fallout from Idlib


News Analysis |

Turkey has increased its efforts to divert or at least de-escalate the upcoming belligerence of Syrian Army, coupled with the Russian air support, to crush the remaining separatist contingents in the Idlib region of Syria. Turkey said that it is in contact with all stakeholders of the Syrian conflict to deter the indiscriminate the military action inside Idlib. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu during his visit to Pakistan said, “We are ready to cooperate with everyone to fight terrorist organizations.

But killing everyone – civilians, women, and children – like this in the name of fighting terrorist organizations is not right and is not humane.” In a failed effort to make Iran and Russia, Syria’s allies in the war, agree for a ceasefire and targeted operation against the militants only, Turkey has managed to stall the movement of Syrian forces toward Idlib. Reports suggest that the airstrikes from Russian jets to neutralize the major facilities of the armed rebels have also come to halt.

Turkey must tap into these likeminded powerful European stakeholders which may result into an outcome which is acceptable for all and less bloody in design.

Turkey has a military presence inside Syria after it launched the Operation Olive Branch against YPG, the armed wing of Syrian Kurds which Turkey deems as militants and enemies. Recently Turkey has established its military posts in Idlib as well which might be a reason for the pulling back of Syrian government troops. Turkey’s Ambassador FeridunSinirlioglu made the appeal after telling the U.N. Security Council that President Bashar Assad’s regime seeks to legitimize its military operation in Idlib on the grounds that it’s fighting terrorism.

Read more: Foreign fighters in Syria’s Idlib face last stand

He warned that such an offensive would only “create further suffering, alienate and radicalize more Syrians” and “play into the hands of terrorists.” He also warned that “an all-out military operation would result in a major humanitarian catastrophe” and “trigger a massive wave of refugees and tremendous security risks for Turkey, the rest of Europe and beyond.” Turkey has always backed the rebels, particularly the groups like Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Ahrar Al-Sham, previously a close ally of Tahrir Al-Sham which is currently operating and the last remaining real contestant to Bashar Al-Asad power, in their struggle for a regime change.

In the process, both these groups provided the manpower and routes to enter Syria for Turkish military in their operation against the Kurds. Because of the Intel and vast fighting experience of these rebels, Turkey was successfully able to push back the YPG fighters. Because of the dispensation of groups like Jahbat Al-Nusra and Ahrar Al-Sham toward the Al-Qaeda, the Turkish actions have been under the firing radar of western media but the U.S government at the same time have been found to support such group under the pretext of “moderate rebels”.

Iran and Russia, Syria’s allies in the war, agree for a ceasefire and targeted operation against the militants only, Turkey has managed to stall the movement of Syrian forces toward Idlib.

It is due to this relationship between the state of Turkey and the Syrian opposition that now Turkey is seen active on the international front to thwart the efforts for an all-out elimination of the Syrian rebels. Another reason which is forcing Turkey for a solution other than the military option, or at least a targeted operation, is the apparent influx of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees toward Turkey because of its proximity with the Idlib region.

Read more: What does bombing on Idlib in Syria mean for the Kurds?

The humanitarian crisis, especially at this juncture when the Turkish economy is already struggling, could lead to further deterioration of internal situation for the country. Another factor which these incoming refugees might influence is the radicalization of the Turkish society which it cannot afford at all. The only thing which has managed to pull together the Turkish nation is their impeccable sense of patriotism which is woven into the social fabric. The people support their government and its decisions which is evident from the recent landslide victory of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Germany and French agree to the Turkish stance particularly about the influx of refugees which are going to be a major problem for Europe as well. Turkey must tap into these likeminded powerful European stakeholders which may result into an outcome which is acceptable for all and less bloody in design.