Idlib: Erdogan threatens with military action

We will not give up Idlib and leave it to the regime, which is unable to capture Turkey’s resolve on the matter – Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Source: Sergei Chirikov / Reuters

“We are determined to make Idlib safe for its residents and Turkey at all costs.” The price is high in any case. The propaganda effort too.

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When the Turkish president last warned: “We could suddenly come one night”, the invasion of Turkish troops in northeastern Syria followed shortly afterwards. The warning should therefore be taken seriously.

Erdogan repeated it today when he spoke to the ACP Group. As with previous operations, the same applies to Idlib that “we can suddenly come one night”.

“We will not give up Idlib and leave it to the regime, which is unable to capture Turkey’s resolve on the matter (…). Under no circumstances will we allow ourselves to shoulder an extra burden that developments in the region impose on our country. We are committed to making Idlib safe for its residents and Turkey at all costs.” – Recep Tayyip Erdogan

“Let’s hope that the worst scenario doesn’t come true,” said the spokesman for the Russian president, Dmitry Peskov.” If this is an operation against the legitimate government of Syria and the Syrian armed forces, it will definitely be the worst scenario.”

Peskow pointed out that Russia would stay in contact with Turkey to prevent a further escalation in Idlib. Erdogan also said today that the negotiations would continue, but so far they would have “lagged behind” what Turkey wanted, which is why they were fully prepared for the operation in Idlib.

Dissatisfied with negotiations with Russia

Nothing reliable is publicly known about the status of the negotiations. French Middle East reporter Georges Malbrunot (four months on the planet Bin Laden) publishes a Russian proposal circulating online that would put a 16-kilometer strip in Idlib under Turkish control. However, the proposal would also mean that Turkey would have to abandon the observation posts.

The latter is the critical point. Turkey requires the Syrian government to withdraw from a zone in Idlib, as was allegedly agreed in the Astana agreement. It sticks to the observation post because it marks an area of ​​influence.

The abandonment of these posts would mean that the Syrian government has free rein in this area. Turkey’s obstination that the Syrian army should withdraw from Idlib is presumptuous – as if Ankara could tell the Syrian government on its territory where it can deploy its army.

Refugee pressure

This can be countered by the fact that Turkey is under great pressure from the war in Idlib. How should she deal with the refugees at the border? Around 900,000 internally displaced people in Idlib are now counted, there are no accommodations, allegedly landowners can already be paid for places under olive trees, it is winter with freezing temperatures. The supply situation in Syria, reinforced by sanctions, is miserable.

The UN warns of a major humanitarian catastrophe. It is foreseeable that the outrage will turn into a demand that Turkey open its borders. From there it is reported that over the years a limit on the reception of refugees has been reached. 60 percent of the Turks had spoken out against the presence of Syrian refugees in a survey. “We don’t even want to take in five Syrians,” said a situation report from the Turkish border town of Reyhanli. [end]


The author of the article is Thomas Pany. Thomas Pany studied political science with Kurt Sontheimer at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, plus modern history and Semitic studies. The original article has been published in Telepolis. Translation and editing by Defenseweek’s team.

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