Aggressive Russian politics heralds clash between Moscow and Ankara on Syria
“Neither ours nor the Syrian military are killing civilians. The attacks on Turkish forces have been carried out by terrorists who have become increasingly aggressive towards both the Russian and Syrian military.
Thus, the Russian presidential spokesman responded to Turkish leader Recep Erdogan, who said yesterday that the Damascus and Moscow forces had delivered deadly strikes not on terrorists but on Syrian civilians.
On February 11, world media reported that Russian fighter jets were attacking Idlib on Tuesday. There are new victims, and about 700,000 refugees have nowhere to go. Later, Assad officially announced that Syrian forces under his command had conquered the Damascus-Aleppo highway for the first time since 2012. A few days ago, the Syrian army, with the help of Russian aviation, seized about 600 kilometers of Turkey-controlled territory, forcing Ankara to launch an offensive against them.
According to analyst and Middle East expert Mohamed Khalaf, these aggressive actions by Russia outline a prolonged clash between Moscow and Ankara in Syria, despite demonstrations by the Russian president that he is working with Turkey to overcome tensions in this explosive area of Syria. Europe has also expressed its concern over the escalation of tensions in Idlib, especially if there is a clash between Russian and Turkish military forces that could lead to new innocent casualties.