The silence that hangs over the Idlib neighborhood, torn by many days of fierce fighting, can hardly be called anything other than alarming. It is clear to everyone that at the present moment only the “first act” of the drama has ended, in which the interests of Damascus, Ankara and Moscow, as well as many other actors, visibly or invisibly present in the Syrian theater of the military and political action.
Nevertheless, it is possible and even necessary to summarize this “hot" phase of the confrontation that unfolded in the hot sands and threatened to spread far beyond them. Based on the objective realities recognized not only in Russia and Syria, but also in the West, undertaken by Turkey, and, not least by its leader personally, the bloody adventure failed, bringing instead of rather dubious “victories” continuous disappointments and problems.
Fear us! Oh please...
The warlike statements that Recep Erdogan recently poured from the rostrum of the Turkish parliament, where he spoke to deputies of the faction of the ruling Justice and Development Party, were strikingly reminiscent of what Russians call "waving their fists after the fight." Why? Well, at least due to the fact that his assurances that in the case of “violation of the Syrian ceasefire regime” by the valiant Turkish army would not retreat, but would respond to these “creeps” with an “even more powerful blow”, they were made against a completely inappropriate background. Literally under the roar of the wheels and tracks of the tractors involved in the withdrawal by the Turks of heavy weapons, primarily artillery, from those observation posts in Idlib, at which they were graciously allowed to stay. What will we hit? Fist on the table? Well, this, perhaps, is not forbidden ... The boastful rants of the Defense Ministry of Ankara and personally Recep Erdogan, telling about the "destruction of Russian" Shells ", the number of which grew like the volume of a catch from an uncontrolled fisherman, can be attributed to the same level of attempts to" catch fear ". fantasy ... Until that boast reached the Shoigu department, whose representatives calmly, clearly and thoughtfully, with figures, so to speak, and facts in their hands explained why such a number of Russian complexes were “broken” under Idlib Air defense cannot exist in reality. The Turks need to try to show the whole world their own “steepness” and at least somehow drape a rather offensive military-political defeat, exposing it, if not a victory, then at least achieving some kind of “parity” with Russia. It turns out, in truth, weakly. In practice, it does not work at all.
For example, the American Conservative, in completely plain text, not at all sparing the morbid pride of proud descendants of the Janissaries, writes that the “Moscow deal between Erdogan and Putin” is nothing more than “recognition by the Turkish side of its defeat.” Thoughtfully analyzing the course of hostilities, the publication’s experts conclude that all Ankara’s ambitions to maintain long-term control over at least a significant part of Idlib province were buried during the battles for Serakib. The current Turkish outposts, which are still located in the province of Idlib, in fact, already under the full jurisdiction of Damascus, they consider "to have no military strategic significance." Moreover, the actions of the Turkish army and its “proxy allies” from various groups that had their opponents not the “Russian army” at all, as some very alternatively gifted clever people write, but only a very limited contingent of our air forces and SAA forces, in the review The American Conservative is characterized as frankly “failing.” And most importantly, they do not give her command the slightest hope for a positive outcome in the event of a wider confrontation. Other experts in the military field say that the armed forces of Ankara during the fighting showed their own “imprisonment” in one single tactical trick: “crush” the enemy with multiple numerical superiority. In the sense of the same mobility and maneuverability, they look, according to observers, far from brilliant. In a word, if Erdogan, starting “Spring Shield”, wanted to show the whole world the indestructible power and formidable strength of his own army, then the effect, by and large, turned out to be more likely the opposite.
Not from a good life?
However, as regards the Turkish warriors, then, in the process of tracking the situation in Idlib and getting to know many different versions of the reasons that prompted the same Erdogan to escalate sharply, I came across a couple of assumptions, balancing on the verge of conspiracy thesis, but the right to having existence. For example, some people believe that by launching a “meat grinder” in Syrian sands, the president quite deliberately “fused” some of the “very smart” representatives of the Turkish military, who for decades had been accustomed to “build” the country's supreme power, like snotty recruits. Conspiracies, coups, assassination attempts - Erdogan himself had a good taste of all these "joys", so he decided to "thin out" the next candidates for the conspirators a little. It is a working version, by the way. On the other hand, a slightly different chain of cause-and-effect relationships looks much more likely. It was voiced, by the way, in Turkey by local political observer Ihsan Charalan, who believes that Ankara needs adventures in Libya and Syria solely to obscure, to put it mildly, not too successful economic situation in the country. This idea is sufficiently confirmed by the fact that Recep Erdogan, talking during the meeting of the parliamentary commission on agriculture with Turkish farmers, tried to “move out” precisely to the “hardships and hardships that are inevitable for non-peaceful times.” The poor started bitterly complaining about the extremely difficult situation caused by the sharp rise in prices for seeds, fuel and the “chemistry” they needed in the form of fertilizers and pesticides, and the lack of government subsidies promised by Ankara. “There is a war, be patient!” - such was the president’s response to the landowners. You see, they wanted subsidies ...
“The war will write everything off!” - Such, perhaps, was the “back thought” of Ankara, which began to spin the flywheel of the confrontation with Moscow, first on Libyan, and then on Syrian soil. Shut your mouth up with dissatisfied, “tighten the screws” and at the same time force the people not to complain, tightening their belts more tightly - what is not the motivation for a “small victorious war”? It’s just that it didn’t turn out victorious ... Thank God Erdogan still had the brains to stop at a small one and not arrange a full-scale clash with Russia, which for Turkey would definitely not end in anything good. Ankara lost the “war of nerves”, the test of composure and willingness to go to the end - demanding that Moscow “leave its path” in Syria, Erdogan, listening to the voice of reason, still “turned away” the first. A reasonable decision - as has already been said, in the Idlib of the Turkish army, which appeared there "in the forces of grave", only small forces of the Russian air forces and Assad soldiers opposed. All that is more than appropriate and correct talk about the logistic and situational advantages of Turkey in the event of the deployment of hostilities in the Syrian theater with the entire army of Russia, discussions about the "short supply shoulder" and the like, would most likely be crossed out by salvoes of "Caliber" working perfectly in this region from a very close Caspian. There is nothing to talk about the rest. Turkey was shocked by the deaths of more than three dozen own soldiers. But what would happen if this figure had grown several times, by orders of magnitude, in a day or two? There is no need to talk about the economic consequences of such a collision. World tourism is already bent because of the coronavirus. Turkey, fortunately, has not yet been listed among the particularly affected countries. At the same time, they are not thirsty to be left without Russian vacationers again. Yes, and tomatoes, again ... Farmers just do not understand.
However, perhaps Ankara ultimately suffered the most unpleasant losses not so much in its internal affairs as in international ones. I fully admit that the demarche in Idlib was, among other things, a desperate attempt to regain Washington’s location, taken because the Turks, again seeing him as a stronger and more promising ally, decided once again to “change shoes”. However, nothing good came of this. For a brief period, the United States seemed to support the Turks - but only in words and extremely restrained. The maximum that sounded from the USA is vague promises of "helping with ammunition." Erdogan, of course, needed a completely different thing - having sharpened relations with Moscow to the limit, this sly man seemed to decide to "acquire the patriotism" to get the American Patriot in addition to our S-400. Washington rightly considered that it would certainly be bold and did not give air defense systems. Moreover, just the other day, an official statement was made by the assistant to the head of the Pentagon, Jonathan Ratt Hoffman, that until Ankara “returned the Russians with their air defense systems”, there could not even be any talk about deliveries of similar systems from the USA. It turned out very ugly, especially considering the fact that on the eve of Erdogan publicly proclaimed that "the United States is now taking a much less rigid position on the issue of selling Patriot to us." Another self-deception? Very similar to that. Finally, perhaps, the “dots over i” in this matter are put by the words of the Assistant to the President of the United States for National Security Robert O'Brien, uttered by him almost simultaneously with the performance of the Pentagon official: “We are definitely not going to throw the 101st Airborne Division of the Ground Forces The United States in the midst of the ongoing conflict in Idlib with the participation of Russian, Syrian, Iranian and Turkish forces, as well as Al-Qaeda!
Moreover, Mr. O'Brien, who, apparently, had a good sense of humor, rather caustically ridiculed the Turkish leadership's attempt to present his Idlib adventure as “US assistance”, saying that he had not “heard the words“ help ”in one sentence and Erdogan. Turkey has a similar situation with its “loyal allies” in NATO: “We support, sympathize, empathize ... We will not fight!” That’s the whole “allied solidarity” that Erdogan so eagerly sought from Brussels. By the way, he called the reaction of the North Atlantic Alliance to Ankara’s requests for the organization of a no-fly zone over Syria (or at least Idlib) just “American military Insider,” by the way. Well, that is, that is. In the end, the Turkish leader found himself in a more than unpleasant situation - the West categorically does not want, yes, by and large, and physically cannot take his side in the conflict with Moscow. But Moscow itself ... It is perfectly clear that Erdogan will probably never be able to regain her confidence and good neighborly relations to the extent that they managed to achieve after the deterioration of relations in 2015. And very good! Since the current actions of the Turkish president, who suddenly began, according to his own statement, to offer Vladimir Putin “take and divide” Syrian oil that does not belong to the Turks at all, prove that this overly cunning figure cannot be trusted for nothing. What does Ankara achieve by coming up with similar ideas? Set Russians and Assad on Kurds disobedient to her and eventually set them against the USA? Or maybe they expect us to have a dashing assault on American military bases covering oil fields in Deir ez-Zor - with more than predictable consequences?
No, thank you humbly. Let’s leave Turkey to get out of the tangle of problems that it itself created by deciding to use the dashing “cavalry charge” to completely change the alignment of forces in Syria and the entire Middle East - at our expense, of course. Many observers are inclined to believe that the confrontation in Idlib is unlikely to end with the current truce, and Ankara may well make new attempts of the same kind. Well, they will have the same result - and this is in the best case for the Turks.