More than 1,000 bombings in 72 hours, Putin still does not want to cease fire, the United States issued a warning

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More than 1,000 bombings in 72 hours, Putin still does not want to cease fire, the United States issued a warning

2018-09-12 20:25:27 54 ℃

Under-Secretary-General of the “One Belt, One Road” Strategic Research Institute of China Youth Political College, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Asian Studies, Haifa University, Israel

At present, Idlib is the last stronghold of the Syrian opposition, and Russia has intensified air strikes against opposition bases in the region.

Russian and Syrian government forces conducted more than 1,000 bombings of the Syrian opposition-controlled area within 72 hours. Under the cover of intensive air strikes, the Syrian government forces are preparing to launch a final attack on the opposition forces in Idlib. It is estimated that there are about 70,000 armed men in the Idlib province and about 3 million civilians.

It is widely believed that the Battle of Idlib will be the last battle of the Syrian civil war that lasted for seven years. After this campaign, the Syrian government forces are likely to achieve recovery throughout the country.

The Syrian civil war involves external forces such as the United States, Russia, Turkey, and Iran. Their positions and actions largely determine the trend of the war.

US President Trump earlier warned the Syrian government of Assad, Russia and Iran not to "snack" the opposition-controlled Idlib province. More than 100 US Marines launched live-fire air raids in the southern Syrian desert to warn Russia and other troops to stay away from the US base in Syria. In fact, the Trump administration’s actions are more of a passive defense, warning Russia not to touch the existing interests of the United States in Syria. Since Trump took office, he has greatly weakened his support for the Syrian opposition, and has retreated the opposition forces supported by the United States and the West.

At the same time, Russia, Turkey and Iran have strengthened consultations and coordination on the Syrian issue. Not long ago, the three countries of Russia and Turkey held a summit on the Battle of Idlib in Iran. At the summit, Turkish President Erdogan tried to bring the parties to a ceasefire agreement. But Russian President Vladimir Putin said that stopping the war is useless because the armistice will not include "terrorists" against Islamic extremist groups. Due to major differences between Turkey and Russia, the Three Kingdoms Summit failed to reach an effective agreement, but the three countries agreed to continue cooperation to find a solution.

There is a big difference between Russia and Turkey on the Syrian issue, but there are also interests. For Turkey, Idlib’s security cannot be compromised, and it is about the security and stability of Turkey’s border with Syria on the southern border. If it cannot lift its concerns about Idlib, Turkey may increase its intervention or will not participate in the future Syrian political process. Russian President Vladimir Putin played a key role in coordinating relations with Turkey, thanks to the rapidly deteriorating relationship between the United States and Turkey. With the help of Turkey's concerns about the security situation in the region, he forced Turkey to support the opposition to abandon the goal of overthrowing the Assad regime. In return, Russia supports Turkey on the issue of Kurdish armed forces in northwestern Syria.

In May 2017, the Astana Dialogue Mechanism, led by Russia, Turkey and Iran, established a conflict-reduction zone in Syria. The conflict relegation zone is under the control of Sunni opposition forces, mainly including Della, Holmes, Dongguta and Idlib. However, during the operation and execution, the three conflict relegation zones were all retaken by the government forces. In April 2014, after the government forces launched a strong offensive, the opposition forces in the Dongguta area either surrendered or moved to Idlib. In May, Holmes’s opposition forces surrendered. After that, the southern offensive launched by the government forces also ended recently. These military actions of the government forces are undoubtedly recognized and supported by Russia.

The difference between Idlib and other regions is that the interests of all parties are mixed together, which escalates the conflict. The risk becomes higher. In October 2017, the Turkish military set up an observation point between the Syrian government forces and opposition forces to implement the conflict resolution agreement. Such actions are both important and risky. What worries most about Turkey is that the Sunni opposition forces in Syria may be completely eliminated by the Syrian government forces without any challenge, or there may be a long-lost Sunni rebellion in the southern border region of Turkey. . A few days ago, Turkey is sending additional military personnel to the observation point to ensure that the country will not be passive.

However, Turkey has now become a force that cannot be ignored in the Syrian civil war. Cross-border military operations launched by Turkey have shown to the outside world that Erdogan will protect its perceived vital interests at critical moments. Although there may be a possibility of a positive conflict between the Syrian government forces and the Turkish military, it will not shake Erdogan’s determination to safeguard his country’s interests. After all, Turkey first asked Assad to step down, so the Russian and Syrian governments would not ignore the role of Turkey in the future political process in Syria. Russia will ask Turkey to act cautiously to avoid a head-on collision with the Syrian government.

After Trump took office, the United States continued to retreat and contract on the ground attack and future political process in Syria. Some analysts believe that the battle between Idlib will make the rift between Turkey and Russia even bigger, and the United States can take the opportunity to support Turkey on the Idlib issue. This will not only repair the broken alliance with Turkey, but also increase its voice on the Syrian issue.

If the United States and its allies and NATO give up the last position of the Syrian opposition, the Syrian civil war will soon end with a full victory of the Russian-backed government forces.