The event marks a milestone in the now nine-year war in Syria. The Turkish military tried to block the Syrians and protect the “rebels” at several strategic sites, but Turkish observation sites were bypassed and the fire was met by the Syrian military.
Turkish soldiers were killed on at least two occasions. Ankara promises revenge, but has so far been content with finding revenge attacks that have not taken place. Syrian government forces have now liberated around half the former terrorist-controlled Idlib province and are advancing to just a few kilometers east of the provincial capital of Idlib.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov defended the Russian position in support of the Syrian advance in a speech to the United Nations Human Rights Council as the need to create a barrier against extremists.
Last week a spokesperson of the US noted that the Idlib governorate was a “magnet” for terrorist groups who are a “nuisance, a menace and a threat” to the hundreds of thousands of civilians in Syria.
.@OIRSpox Colonel Myles Caggins says the #Idlib province is a "magnet" for terrorist groups who are a "nuisance, a menace and a threat" to the hundreds of thousands of civilians in Syria, who are just "trying to make it through the winter."
— Sky News (@SkyNews) February 20, 2020
Thus Turkey’s threat to attack should Syria not withdraw by March 1 is obviously empty. The Russian air force would pulverize the Turkish forces before they even reach the front lines, despite Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s threats to the Syrian government that he would be deploying his military against the Syrian army if it does not stop its anti-terror operation in Idlib.