The war in Syria risks flaring into a wider conflict once again. At least 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in an air strike by Syrian government forces in northwestern Idlib province on Thursday. Turkey promised “to respond in kind” with attacks on “all” their positions.
NATO member Turkey has been occupying parts of the North East of Syria since 2016 . It has been backing opposition forces since the start of the war in 2011, originally in the hope of bringing down the Assad government. But now Erdogan’s more limited aims are to knock out Kurdish forces presiding over the partial autonomy granted to them in North-Eastern Syria and to stop the flow of Syrian refugees into Turkey.
Erdogan has warned Turkey would launch a full-scale offensive to repel Syrian forces unless they pulled back from Turkish observation posts in the region. He insisted his troops will ‘push the regime back past the borders we have set and allow people to return to their homes’. Meanwhile the Russians are backing Assad’s push to recapture the whole of the country.