Author`s name Lyuba Lulko

Turkey fears Russia's revenge for Nagorno Karabakh crisis

Turkey instructed its militants in Syria to get ready for Russia's "aggression" in response to the events in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Turkey warns its militants about the Russian offensive

The news was reported in an article published by Al Araby Al Jadeed newspaper under the headline "Will Russia abandon its agreements with Turkey?"

The newspaper refers to the opinion of the leader of the Syrian National Army (SNA), Mustafa Sejari, whose sources in Turkey believe that Russia intends to launch a military operation "north of Aleppo and east of the Euphrates" (the territories previously controlled by the Kurds), if the crises in Nagorno-Karabakh or Libya are going to escalate.

"The Turks have confirmed that they will support us if the Russians want to escalate," Sejari told the newspaper.

Military clashes between the pro-Turkish SNA and the Turkish army on the one hand, and the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on the other hand, still continue in areas east of the Euphrates in the vicinity of the cities of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain. However, in the cities of Al-Bab, Jarablus, Azaz, Afrin, the situation is stable, the newspaper said.

"Neither Russia, nor the regime of (Bashar al-Assad) have showed any intention to return these territories," the article says.

Even if Russia supports the Kurds, their chances of regaining control over northern Syria are slim, Sejari estimates, since the SDF does not have an advantage either in manpower or aviation.

What if Russia responds in Idlib?

Sejari could not say anything definite about Russia's intentions in Idlib, but the newspaper does not rule out such "pressure".

"The Russia-backed forces of the regime (Bashar al-Assad's regime) and the Iranian militia are building up on the contact lines in southern and eastern Idlib. This is what Ankara and the opposition have prepared for by providing reinforcements to the Turkish army in Idlib over the past two months and having adjusted the positions of the SNA in preparation for the development of events," Al Araby Al Jadeed wrote.

The newspaper reminds that the Syrian government repeatedly announced its intention to terminate the Russian-Turkish ceasefire agreement in Idlib, which was concluded in March last year.

Damascus wants Moscow to counter Ankara

Shamil Sultanov, chairman of the Russia-Islamic World Strategic Research Center, told Pravda.Ru that there may be an aggravation of the crisis in Syria, but it is not going to be connected with Russia's intentions to punish Turkey for the war in Nagorno-Karabakh. The escalation of the crisis can be related to the fact that "it is vitally important for the government of Bashar al-Assad to show its people that it is liberating Idlib, that Idlib does not remain under the control of pro-Turkish forces or terrorist structures."

This, according to the expert, is also important because Syria is going to hold presidential elections in Syria in 2021, and "it is necessary to show that Damascus keeps the territory of Syria under control."

"If this is not going to happen, the international community is not going to recognise the results of the presidential vote," Shamil Sultanov said.

Therefore, Damascus, given the crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh, will try to push Russia to terminating the March 2019 agreements with Turkey and showing assistance to Damascus in the attempt of the Syrian army to go on offensive in Idlib, the political scientist said.

The expert assumes that Idlib, should the crisis exacerbate, will have to deal with another massacre, and hostilities will last a very long time.

On September 27, Azerbaijan launched an offensive against the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Many experts believe that Turkey is behind Azerbaijan's actions, that Turkey sent Syrian militants to the area of the hostilities. Russia did not accept Turkey's proposition about the "Syrian option" to resolve the Karabakh crisis, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview with Anadolu news agency.