Idlib discord may spark renewed friction between Russia, Turkey | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Idlib discord may spark renewed friction between Russia, Turkey

Turkey is beefing up its positions in the Idlib Governorate while Damascus hopes to bring it back under its control, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. Al-Jazeera TV reports of a growing Turkish contingent in the enclave, where the moderate opposition’s forces loyal to Ankara are working hand in glove with radical groups. This gesture is likely to draw a "red line" for the Syrian regime and its allies. Experts warn that a new confrontation between Russia and Turkey may flare up to levels seen back in 2015. Last week’s summit in Tehran between Russia, Turkey and Iran failed to iron out all the differences within the Syrian troika, the paper writes. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insists that Idlib hosts moderate opposition members and any operations there under the pretext of fighting Al-Nusra (terror group outlawed in Russia) are unacceptable. Meanwhile, Moscow is calling for separating militants from radicals. "The risk of confrontation between Russia and Turkey is growing in general should Moscow, Damascus and Tehran embark on launching harsher steps against Idlib," Director of the Center of Islamic Research at the Institute of Innovative Development Kirill Semenov told the paper. Turkey’s move is aimed at preventing a potential offensive by Assad's forces and their allies, he said. "If Turkey uses its aviation, it will have the upper hand in Syrian skies." In this context, the analyst did not rule out that the friction that had erupted in 2015 when Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber, may be repeated. "But it is noteworthy that Moscow is not seeking any escalation with Turkey and we can say that Russia will try to contain Damascus," Semenov said.