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Syria-Turkey, the epicenter of the war becomes Saraqeb

The epicenter of the war between Syria and Turkey has become Saraqeb. The city is strategic for both Ankara and Damascus: it is the gateway to Aleppo and Idlib

The epicenter of the war between Damascus and Turkey has become Saraqeb. The city continues to switch hands between the rebels, supported by Spring Shield operation, and Syrian army (SAA). This is because it is strategic. On the one hand, in fact, it allows access to Aleppo and on the other to Idlib. As a result, both Ankara’s allies and Bashar Assad’s government want it. Not surprisingly, it has just been recaptured by the SAA, after a violent battle that has not yet ended. In some areas, especially in the west, fighting continues and new lunges of anti-government militias are feared. Especially since Turkish drones intervened, bombing army posts on the front line. At the moment, however, Ankara offensive is mostly limited to aerial strikes. On the ground there are few men, elements of the special forces, who “illuminate” the targets to be hit and monitor the enemy’s movements.

Putin-Erdogan meeting confirmed, but in Moscow. Ankara, not having obtained the go-ahead from the Spring Shield operation from Russia, is aiming for a truce agreement and maintaining the buffer zone

Meanwhile, there is a last minute news on the expected meeting between Presidents Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin on March 5, “unconfirmed” by the Turkish presidency in the past few hours. It will take place not in Ankara as scheduled, but in Moscow. Erdogan insisted that the Spring Shield operation will not affect Russia’s interests or personnel in Syria. But that the offensive is directed only against Damascus and the SAA. His original goal was to get the go-ahead to conduct the maneuvers. However, since this has failed, as evidenced by the fact that the Federation assets operate alongside those of Assad, he will probably try to focus on a truce agreement to save face and keep the buffer zone intact in Idlib and in the rest of the north.

Despite the advantages over the EU and Iran, Erdogan is in difficulty with its main partners: Russia and NATO (US). In order to continue playing on multiple tables, he will have to keep his balance at all costs and make compromises

Indeed, Turkey’s decision to declare war on Syria did not go according to plan. Russia did not step aside, as Ankara hoped, and NATO (US) did not give the hoped for answers either. Consequently, Erdogan must maintain balance and relations with Moscow in order to continue playing on all the tables simultaneously. The only advantages it has are towards the EU, with the issue of opening borders to migrants, and towards Iran. Tehran is currently too busy dealing with the Coronavirus epidemic to deal with what is happening in Syria. Although it has just lost 21militians in the bombing of the TAF. This, however, does not bring him any benefit towards the two “key” partners. Especially as a result of the fact that both, each in his own way, made him understand that the campaign was a serious mistake.

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