Moscow and Ankara at odds over Syrian crisis

Source:Arab News Date:12Aug2019

Turkey complains to Russia about the Assad regime shelling various targets in Idlib. Russia duly takes note of these complaints, but it is unclear whether it takes any action on them. Russia’s approach to this shelling is far from being similar to that of Turkey. Moscow not only refrains from opposing the Syrian government’s shelling, but also supports them either by providing air cover or by participating in the bombing with its own fighter aircraft.


Another Russian military officer, Maj. Gen. Alexei Bakin, head of the Russian center for reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria, went one step farther and explained the Russian position in clearer words: “We expect the Turkish side to fully implement the Sochi agreements within 24 hours in response to the Syrian initiative, providing the withdrawal of militants and weapons from the demilitarized zone and the cessation of attacks.” The Syrian government resumed military operations two days after this statement.

Both of these statements coincided with the Astana meeting, and barely conceal the difference between Moscow’s and Ankara’s approach to the problem. Whether Turkey and Russia will be able to find a middle ground is not yet clear. If they cannot, the Astana process risks becoming a lame duck.