It has been more than eight years since the Syrian regime began one of the most brutal assaults against its own citizens, using every violent instrument at its disposal. The international community in these eight years stood idly by while the number of casualties and displaced people increased every day. The international bodies who should have been monitoring the situation stopped counting the number of people who died as a result of these atrocious attacks after half a million.
Russia's eagerness to have a presence in the Mediterranean is an old, well-known and deep-rooted policy. Syria, the country that could offer Russia the best chance of reaching the Mediterranean, presented an incredible opportunity for the country to implement its policy of reaching warmer seas when Bashar Assad called for help from Moscow in 2015. Russia has already developed good relations with countries such as Iran and Syria to contain NATO countries and U.S. allies in this region.
To solve the crisis in Idlib, the international community is hoping for the success of a four-nation summit and fresh diplomatic talks. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel and France's President Emmanuel Macron, scheduled to take place on March 5, keeps alive the hope of ending what the U.N. called “the worst humanitarian crisis of the 21st century” diplomatically.
The recent escalation of violence between Turkey and the Assad regime in violation of the Sochi deal marks a significantly tense moment that may risk a deterioration of relations between Ankara and Moscow. Turkey has given an ultimatum to the Assad regime to withdraw its troops outside of the zone encircled by Turkey's military observation points until the end of February. So far, the Assad regime has resisted the idea of withdrawal and continued to expand further into the territory. However, Turkey expects its Russian counterparts to either convince or force the Assad regime to comply with the conditions laid out as part of the Sochi deal that was signed in September 2018.
Turkey faces growing pressure to retreat from three locations: Idlib, where Turkish forces are trying to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe; Libya, with which the Turks concluded a defense pact; and the Eastern Mediterranean, where Turkey is defending its rights under international law.