Russia Waits as Turkey to Resume Operations in Idlib

  • The statement by Akar violates the agreement with Russia on de-escalation of the conflict in Syria.
  • After the Turkish Defense Minister made his comments, Russian "Scud-B" rockets appeared in Libya.
  • Turkey can't fight Russia in both Syria and Libya.

According to Russian news outlet avia.pro, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that it is time for Turkey to actively continue its military operations in Syria’s Idlib province. The publication quoted him as saying that the Turkish military will continue to fight all “terrorist organizations” that pose a threat to Turkey’s security, whether inside its borders or outside them.

Hulusi Akar is the current Turkish Minister of Defense and a former four-star Turkish Armed Forces general who served as the 29th Chief of the General Staff. Akar also served as a brigade commander in various NATO engagements including ISAF, Operation Deliberate Force during the Bosnian War and the Kosovo Force during the Kosovo War.

The statement by Akar violates the agreement with Russia on de-escalation of the conflict in Syria. This agreement was implemented in the spring. Russia immediately responded with harsh words and warned that if Turkey decides to resume operations in Syria, Russia will have no choice but to support the Syrian government and immediately launch a counter-operation.

As it stands, Turkish troops are scarce in Syria due to the fact that many fighters are being redirected to Libya. An estimated 15,000 fighters have been deployed to Libya. It is obvious that Turkey is actively involved in the Libyan conflict. Turkey and Russia are on opposite sides of the Libyan conflict. However, Turkey is not strong enough to go against Russia if the military conflict escalates.

Earlier this month, there were reports that Russia was recruiting mercenaries to fight in Libya. In June, lists of the Russian mercenaries in Libya were leaked.

After the Turkish Defense Minister made his comments, Russian “Scud-B” rockets appeared in Libya.  The deployment of the missiles, and a video related to them, was released on June 28. It is likely that the missiles were delivered via Iran. Note that Russia, at this time, did not comment on how the Scud-B missiles were delivered.

The missiles are positioned near Sirte to help Khalifa Haftar. However, the opposing sides of Field Marshal Haftar and interim President Fayez al-Sarraj, are perceived as tainted. Sarraj now hardly lives in Libya, and spends most of his time in Western Europe.

At the same time, Russia and Turkey have very different geopolitical plans. Turkey has also angered France, and it is possible that France will demand that Turkey be stripped of its NATO membership.

Russia–Turkey relations is the bilateral relationship between Russia and Turkey and their antecedent states. Relations between the two are rather cyclical.

In addition, it is expected that within a few weeks, Syrian President Bashar Assad will gain control of Idlib. The Kremlin is tired of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and the latest announcement of the resumption of military operations in the region may have sealed Turkey’s fate.

Russian President Vladimir Putin does not play well with others, especially with Turkey. Many representatives of the Turkish opposition condemned the Syrian operation since Day 1. Turkey’s economy is going through very difficult times, and Turkey does not have the resources to go to a proxy war with Russia.

NATO may or may not intervene to protect Turkey. Erdogan managed to greatly upset his fellow NATO members. His personal dream of reviving the Ottoman Empire is about to be done. The escalation of tension in relations with Greece is not good for Turkey either.

It is time for Turkey to have a new leader, not another selfish maniac who is ready to stain his hands with blood. As in the Idlib operation, many civilians were killed and displaced. The humanitarian crisis will escalate.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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