Despite supporting opposite sides, Turkey and Russia have maintained dialogue for the last several years in the Syrian crisis. Together with Iran, another Bashar Assad supporter, they initiated the Astana Process. They have taken several significant steps to lessen the level of violence in the country. However, the Assad regime has insistently violated the cease-fire and continued its attacks against the opposition and civilian targets.
In the Syrian crisis, Russia, Iran and the Assad regime, controlled by Russia, have no red lines and continue to target everyone in the country, both military and civilian. They continue to create fait accompli and expand their clout in opposition-controlled territories. They intend to deterritorialize the opposition, which holds the Idlib region only. Besides Turkey, there are no significant supporters of the opposition. Therefore, the Assad regime and Russia enjoy military superiority. Accordingly, they do not prioritize a political solution to the crisis and prefer to solve the problem through military means.
As part of this policy, on Feb. 3, Turkish military points established in the Idlib region to deter regime forces from moving northward and attacking civilians in the region were targeted by regime forces. The regime forces killed five Turkish soldiers and three civilians. Turkish security forces retaliated immediately, targeting military installations and killing dozens of Syrian forces.
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