[Marxism] In the Battle for Idlib in Syria, Turkey Strikes Assad’s Forces for the First Time

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Feb 28 06:54:14 MST 2020

By Aron Lund.

While Putin has no love for the Turkish-backed Islamists in control of 
much of Idlib and seems to be fine with Assad’s gruesome tactics, his 
interests are in fact split, since Russia is deeply invested in its 
relationship with Erdogan. As a major trade and energy partner with 
enduring influence along Russia’s southern border, and a powerful but 
politically awkward role in NATO, Turkey holds enormous strategic 
importance to the Kremlin.

Over the past few years, Russia has had no qualms about poking Turkey to 
test its reactions and demand concessions. But now that Ankara has 
lashed out against Putin's Syrian ally, will Moscow respond in kind or 
seek a compromise?

The answer may depend on how ambitious Erdogan’s agenda really is. If 
Ankara is simply seeking to deter attacks on Turkish soldiers in Idlib, 
Russia might offer some pro forma criticism in public but will probably 
signal its understanding in private. However, Moscow might have a harder 
time accepting if Turkey tries to obstruct Assad’s progress along the 
vital M5.


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