How Turkey’s soldiers and spies saved the day in Syria

How Turkey’s soldiers and spies saved the day in Syria

Summary: Turkey’s diplomatic position in Syria remains untenable, but its armed forces and spy agency did a pretty good job last week.


Many Turks understandably question the cease-fire agreement that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan concluded with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on March 5. They are upset that scores of Turkish soldiers died at the hands of the Assad regime (and probably Russia) and that Damascus gained more ground in Idlib. Expect that cries of “What are we doing in Syria?” will get more intense and for the Turkish public to become even more divided over their country’s continued involvement in the Syrian civil war.

Several Turkish observers (including Al-Monitor writers Metin Gurcan and Kadri Gursel) correctly point out that the March 5 agreement with Moscow gives Ankara a much-needed respite and spares it from a new influx of refugees. But vehement critics of Erdogan take him to task over his comments in early February when he threatened to push back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces to their original positions under the Astana agreement of 2017.

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