Russia-Turkey ties face ‘moment of truth’ over Syria’s Idlib

An Al-Monitor piece states Moscow and Ankara are facing a moment of truth over Syria’s northwestern Idlib region, where Russian and Turkish interests collide. A possibility has arisen that the Syrian Kurds will form an alliance with the Assad regime and launch a joint offensive on Idlib, an area around which Turkey has military observation points and Ankara is trying to ensure deescalation. To make matters worse for Ankara, the  Kurds would expect Damascus to concede control over Afrin and Manbij — two areas in northwestern Syria that were taken over by Turkish forces. Though such an offensive would antagonize Ankara, Moscow has given signals it might be supportive of it. Moscow would like its ally Assad to capitalize on momentum gained from recent victories elsewhere in Syria and to regain control of much of the country. Meanwhile, Ankara has said it will abandon the Astana peace talks process if the Assad regime launches an offensive on Idlib. Middle East analyst Kirill Semenov concludes that it will be extremely difficult for Moscow and Ankara to reach a consensus on Idlib.


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