This week Turkey and Russia struggle to find a solution for the imminent Syrian attack on Idlib
By Craig C. White
The Assad regime has cleared rebel groups from most of Syria, and those that are left are concentrated in the Idlib province of northern Syria. The Idlib province is fully under Al-Qaeda and Turkish control. The Syrian government announced that they intend to attack Idlib in September.
Russia supports the Assad regime in Syria. So far Russia has held a firm position that the Al-Qaeda rebel groups in Idlib must be removed. This week Russia brought a major flotilla of war ships into the Mediterranean Sea off of Syria’s coast ostensibly to support the Syrian Army as they attack Idlib.
Russia wants Al-Qaeda removed from Idlib. This would go a long way to secure the nation of Syria under Syrian President Assad’s rule. This would also help to secure Russia’s warm water shipping ports in Syria. But there remains a huge problem. Turkey is also in Idlib. Turkish President Erdogan says that if the Syrian Army attacks Idlib then Turkey will retaliate. This puts Turkey and Russia in a difficult position.
Russia has recently made some major economic deals with Turkey including building nuclear reactors in Turkey, selling advanced missile systems to Turkey, and also building a major natural gas pipeline from Russia to Turkey. Russia has too much at stake to upset their new economic partner Turkey. I think that Russia would prefer to protect its economic interests with Turkey than to secure northwestern Syria for Assad. When push comes to shove, Russia may just allow Syria to fend for itself in Idlib.
Don’t underestimate Turkish President Erdogan’s ambitions in Syria. Erdogan admitted that the sole reason why the Turkish Army has entered Syria is to remove Syrian President Assad from power in Damascus. This week Erdogan announced his plans to control the entire region by 2023. President Erdogan vowed on Sunday to bring peace and safety to Iraq and areas in Syria not under Turkish control and said that terrorist organizations in those areas would be eliminated. When Erdogan says “terrorist organizations” he is including the Assad regime.
Turkey already controls or supports most of the Al-Qaeda groups in Syria. Turkey wants all of these factions to unite under Turkish leadership. Al-Nusra (also known as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham) is the largest Al-Qaeda group in Idlib and the one remaining group that Turkey is trying to bring under its command. Turkey could attack the Syrian Army in Hamah with fifty thousand Turkish troops along with one hundred thousand Al-Qaeda rebels; and Russia may just sit back and let them.
Right now Russia and Turkey are in talks to find a diplomatic solution to the situation in Idlib but analysts fear that a solution will not be found in time. The Syrian Army in Hamah is already shelling the nearby province of Idlib. Turkish President Erdogan has vowed to retaliate against the Syrian Army in Hamah. Jeremiah says that when Hamah and Tell Rifaat hear evil reports then the residents of Damascus will flee and Damascus will be destroyed.
Jeremiah 49:23 Concerning Damascus. Hamath is confounded, and Arpad: for they have heard evil tidings: they are fainthearted; there is sorrow on the sea; it cannot be quiet.
After Turkey destroys Damascus then they will lead the forces that are now fighting in Syria into the Golan Heights of northern Israel. Jesus will return to turn them back.