RPT: Erdogan's Idlib Offensive Unlikely Over Fear Of Losing To Damascus- Syrian Politician
ST. PETERSBURG (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 20th February, 2020) Turkey is unlikely to deliver on its warning and launch a full-on offensive against the Syrian government forces in the northwestern Idlib province because it does not want to be beaten by the Syrian military, now a force with extensive combat experience gained over nearly a decade of war, Tarek Ahmad, a representative of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, said.
Earlier this week, a Turkish delegation arrived in Moscow for talks regarding the situation in Idlib in light of a grave escalation in the Syrian province in recent weeks. However, Ankara announced it was dissatisfied with the negotiations, and no deal was struck. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier on Wednesday that Turkey was fully ready for its own operation in Idlib and could launch it "any minute."
"Erdogan does not have the military capability to start an offensive and he fears that the Syrian army will push back. I know that it is the second biggest army in NATO, but for a long time it was not partaking in any real military activity. On the other hand, the Syrian army, after nine years of real fighting, continues to win, of course, with support from Russia," Ahmad told Sputnik.
The politician added that Erdogan's recent rhetoric was mostly directed at the Turkish public amid the rise of political tensions within his own country.
"He [Erdogan] has promised the Muslim Brotherhood party [banned in Russia], also Nusra Front [now known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham terrorist organization, banned in Russia] and other groups with the same ideology that the Ottoman Empire in its borders could be restored," Ahmad said.
Erdogan has long supported the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood and the short-lived former Islamist government of the North African country, which has resulted in the tense relationship between the current leadership of Egypt and Turkey.
Numerous media reports have been alleging collusion between the Nusra Front and Turkey, with members of the Syrian government and Kurdish militias claiming that Ankara provided military support to the rebel armed group. Nonetheless, Ankara designated the Nusra Front as a terrorist organization in 2014 and officially regards them as radicals. Earlier in February, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar even said that the country's armed forces would be used against all sides violating the Idlib ceasefire, "including the radicals."