Turkish intervention into Syria’s rebel-held Idlib may never happen - Arab Weekly

The Syrian armed opposition should not hold its breath waiting for a Turkish intervention to save them in the northwestern province of Idlib, as such a move is unlikely to be coming anytime soon, wrote Al Arab Weekly columnist Sami Moubayed.

Monday’s air raids near a Turkish military convoy heading to one of its observation posts in Morek in northwest Syria that killed at least three civilians and injured 12, is a clear sign that country not be allowed to do as it pleases in the neighbouring war-torn country, Moubayed said. 

Moscow and Ankara brokered a deal in September to rid the region free of heavy weapons and fighters, helping avert a government assault on the region, the last stronghold of Syrian President Bashar Assad's opponents.

Ankara has long called for the area near the Turkish border to be cleared of the U.S.-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia, which it sees as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that has been at war in Turkey for over three decades.

Since the agreement to a demilitarised zone last year, however, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has missed the deadline to go after the militants from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the article said, choosing instead to focus on the strategic Kurdish-held towns of Kobane, Ras al-Ayn and Tel Rifaat.

Turkey’s strongman has continued to withdraw his best men to the Aleppo countryside, to the battle against the Kurds.

Meanwhile, the ceasefire in Idlib collapsed in early August and operations resumed. 

Soon thereafter it became evident that the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump had no intention of granting Erdoğan ‘’a full-fledge safe zone in north-eastern Syria or of giving him a green light to come after Kurdish separatists, funded and armed by the United States,’’ Moubayed wrote. 

As Turkey walked back into the open arms of his Russia, the bombing of the Turkish convoy essentially amounted to nothing and no Turkish reinforcements were sent to the armed opposition in Idlib, the article said. 

The armed men of Idlib waiting for a Turkish intervention to save them appear to be waiting in vain and slated to pay a high price, the Arab Weekly article concluded.