PKK terrorists and the Bashar Assad regime, under the auspices of Russia and with the support of Iran-backed militias, are acting together against Turkey in Syria in the face of a growing crisis.
Tensions between Turkey and Russia have been rising since the Assad regime's attacks left 13 Turkish soldiers and a civilian dead, and 45 others injured recently. Yet Moscow just released one of its usual statements – a couple of sentences on the humanitarian chaos in Syria's northwestern Idlib province, an expression of concern on the escalating tensions but no concrete actions on the ground to back these words.
Russia has been trying for some time to bring illegal terrorist elements to the negotiating table to cooperate with Assad. Most recently, representatives from the Assad regime and the YPG/PKK terrorist organization met in a Russian base located in the Syrian port city of Latakia, a report said Wednesday.
Russia convinced the regime and the YPG/PKK to discuss issues at the Hmeimeem Airbase. The two sides agreed to establish joint commissions on the constitution, administration, education and military issues, the report said, noting that regime ministers would also take part in these commissions.
Furthermore, claims have been circulating that previous cooperation between the regime and the YPG/PKK terrorists had been vital for the regime. A high-ranking PKK terrorist has claimed that the Assad regime has survived only thanks to the YPG. "The regime should not forget that if it wasn't for YPG policies, there wouldn't be any regime left," the terrorist, identified as Bahoz Erdal, told the Irbil-based BasNews in December.
The YPG and Assad regime have been known to get along well in the past. Before Turkey's anti-terror operation in northern Syria, a senior YPG leader had said they were considering a partnership with the Assad regime.
Russia also declared that it allegedly supports the Sochi deal, signed for a de-escalation zone while it continues to target civilians on the field together with other actors, including terrorist groups and militias. The latest campaign to seize control of Idlib and gain further land, has ended with hundreds of thousands displaced and hundreds dead despite frequent alarm calls by Turkey and the U.N. that Assad's actions are sabotaging a peaceful solution.
The regime and its supporters have been violating the Sochi agreement that was reached on Sept. 17 by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
According to a U.N. statement on Tuesday, nearly 700,000 people have fled the region due to the regime offensive on Idlib. This marked the biggest movement of migrants in the nine-year-old conflict.
Alarmed by the issue, Turkey, which hosts the highest number of refugees in the world, is determined to tackle the problem outside of its borders. Thus, it has been engaging with diplomatic efforts for years now, especially with countries like Russia and Iran.
As part of its efforts, Turkey has launched the Astana process with Russia and Iran and signed the Sochi deal with Russia that had declared Idlib as a de-escalation zone to prevent a humanitarian crisis.
Despite the efforts, regime forces and Russia have continued to create chaos in the region. Still, Turkey continues its diplomacy with Russia, the latest step of which came on Monday as a Russian delegation visited Ankara.
The goal of regime attacks against civilians is to push them toward the Turkish border to facilitate the easy takeover of the area, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan elaborated last week, adding that Turkey has reinforced its military units in the area and is cooperating with moderate opposition forces.
Meanwhile, Turkey is ready to retaliate against any attack on its forces in Syria, Vice President Fuat Oktay reiterated on Saturday. "The regime must know this: if attacks on our military continue, Turkey will know no bounds (in its retaliation). This message was clearly conveyed to Russia," Oktay said.
Russia, which backs Assad, says Turkey has flouted deals it made with Moscow and aggravated the situation in Idlib. The Kremlin said Ankara had failed to neutralize militants there.
As part of Turkey's diplomatic efforts to solve the crisis in Idlib, a Turkish delegation will visit Moscow on Monday.