Beside the refugee situation, Idlib is important to Turkey for another reason: It serves as a shield that prevents the PKK terrorist organization from expanding its area of operation in the war-torn country. Thus, the stability of Idlib is crucial in curbing PKK gains, which would add a new variable in Syria.
As for Russia’s role, the massacre in eastern Ghouta, and how the crisis was handled by Moscow at that time, is still in people’s minds and it is hard to see much Russian sensitivity over the death of civilians. Iran, meanwhile, is engaged in the war through its militias, carrying out attacks that sometimes resemble terrorist-type methods.
These three countries — Turkey, Russia and Iran — with their varied motivations and interests, and using differing methods in pursuit of their preferred outcomes, have held several rounds of peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, and elsewhere in an attempt to find a way to end the conflict.
It is not easy for Turkey or the other two, which are allies of the Syrian regime, to sit at the same table and find common ground on which they can all agree. However, so far the best outcome of these talks has been a memorandum of understanding on de-escalation zones in Syria, which have sharply reduced fighting in the country. Through this agreement, Turkey established 12 military outposts in Idlib, in which Turkish forces are positioned between opposition forces and the Syrian army.
I do not claim to be an expert on Syria. However one does not need to be a soothsayer to know that the conflict is not going to be resolved in Idlib, nor is a political solution going to be achieved any time soon through discussions about the province.
The conflicting interests of the many actors in the war lessens the prospects of a solution. The US has been engaged in pursuing ways to prove its power in the Middle East, Russia in maintaining its presence in the Mediterranean, Iran in securing its Shiite Crescent from Iraq to Lebanon, Turkey in preserving security and stability along its border, and Israel and other regional countries in maximizing the benefits to them from this mess. As a result, it becomes even more difficult to argue that a resolution in Idlib, or any other single part of the country, can be considered a light at the end of this long, dark tunnel.
The issue is totally enmeshed in the
interrelations between the external actors in the Syria war. These relationships, whether between Turkey and the US, Russia and the US, or Russia and Iran, play a significant role in determining the situation in Syria. Unless a compromise can be reached between all these actors on certain issues, the war in Syria is likely to occupy the global agenda for many more years to come.
(Courtesy : Arab News)