Istanbul could host a meeting of the leaders from Russia, Turkey, Germany and France, aimed at resolving the deteriorating situation in Idlib, Syria.
The meeting, possibly in early March, can be considered the deadline for stabilizing the situation in Idlib, the failure of which can lead to disaster, and potentially a “direct clash between the Russian and Turkish forces,” according to the BulgarianMilitary site.
If Moscow and Damascus succeed in negotiations with Turkey then a new control zone and demarcation lines will be drawn in the north-west of the Arab Republic. That is why Bashar al-Assad does not want to stop the offensive for a day, trying to take the maximum number of settlements, strategic heights and roads in the Idlib region from the Islamist militants guarded by Turkey.
Over the past day, the Turkish-Islamic alliance was able to advance its positions in the east of Idlib, near the village of Nayrab and the city of Sarakib, but received a blow on another sector of the front as the Syrian army knocked out militants from a number of villages and cities south of Idlib.
The Russian Air Force is actively supporting the Syrian forces in the region while Turkey has started supplying the Islamists with American-made man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS). Ankara has made it clear that it expects unyielding support from the United States and requested to deploy Patriot missile defence systems in southern Turkey.
The risk of a direct clash between Russians and Turks remains high, so it’s important to observe how the senior Turkish military assess their country’s involvement in the conflict with Russia, Bulgarian Military notes.
Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed that Turkey would not take the “smallest step back” in an escalating stand-off with Damascus and Russia over the northern Syrian region of Idlib.
“We will not take the smallest step back in Idlib, we will certainly push the regime outside the borders we designated, and ensure the return of the people to their homes,” Erdogan told the ruling party’s lawmakers in parliament in Ankara.
Erdogan bluntly warned the Syrian regime to “stop its attacks as soon as possible” and to pull back by the end of February. “The time we have given to those who attacked our observation towers is running out,” Erdogan said.
“We are planning to save those of our observation posts from the besiegers one way or another by the end of this month.” Erdogan added that “the biggest problem we currently have is that we cannot use the air space” over Idlib which is controlled by Russia. “God willing, we will find a solution soon.”