Turkey should bomb Damascus - commentator

Turkey should retaliate recent attacks of Syrian forces, which have killed 15 Turkish soldiers in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib since the start of February, by striking Syrian government targets in Damascus, Washington Examiner commentary writer Tom Rogan said on Friday. 

“While an operation against the Syrian capital would attract Bashar Assad's fury, it would send a clear message to the dictator and his Russian allies,” Rogan said referring to Syrian president.

Turkey threatens to launch a military offensive in Idlib, the last major rebel-held enclave in Syria, if Russian-backed Syrian forces do not withdraw from positions in the province where Turkey has 12 observation posts, built according to a 2018 deal made between Turkey and Russia. 

Rogan said Russians would not have allowed Syrian forces to kill Turkish soldiers, if Russian President Vladimir Putin had not wanted exactly that to occur. 

“So what should Erdoğan do,” Rogan asked. “Well, striking the Russians directly is obviously not a preferable option: To do so would risk escalation.”

“But were Turkey to strike one or some of Assad's command and control nodes in Damascus, it could educate the Syrian regime and Putin to its resolve,” he said. 

Rogan said NATO should accept Turkey's request to station Patriot anti-air batteries along its border with Syria, adding that such a move would have a double effect of securing Turkey's flank against Assad's retaliation and offering an olive branch to persuade Erdoğan to reverse his decision to acquire Russian S-400 defence systems and return to the West.