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The Syrian Equilibrium 

The last Thursday’s Turco-Russian agreement in Moscow highlighted the stormy relationship between the two countries. The bilateral relations have never been so strained after the Russian backed regime forces hit a Turkish contingent in the Idlib province that resulted in loss of 34 Turkish soldiers
The Moscow summit lasted for about six hours after which the two leaders and the foreign affairs chiefs made the statement about the content of the meeting. Commonsense prevailed and a ceasefire in Syria was put in effect by the midnight of the same dayS

Since the inception of the ceasefire, except for a few regime violations in Idlib, the situation has been calm.

As the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan reiterated at the press conference, the Turkey is to retain its observation posts around Idlib per the Sochi and Astana agreements. Erdogan also pledged his commitment to act in deterrence to prevent the civilian population from getting displaced by the Assad Regime’s violations

The Moscow agreement states that the joint Turkish-Russian patrols to start on the M4 highway on March 15th. The military representatives from both sides will determine the details of the joint patrols this week in Ankara

Since the beginning of this year, the incessant regime and Russian aerial bombardments have resulted in the displacement of approximately one million civilians heading towards the Turkish border. This wave of refugees puts additional strain on Turkey as it has already accepted more than four million regugees

The Turkish authorities have repeatedly warned that the country has reached its limits when it comes to refugees and that it would result in Turkey lifting the ban on refugees leaving for Europe. Ankara has also blamed the European Union for being indifferent to Turkey’s growing refugee problem, which would eventually adversely affect Europe itself

More than 140.000 immigrants have, according to the latest numbers of the Turkish interior ministry, entered in Greece. With this rate, the number is expected to top one million. It is high time the European Union took concrete steps towards the resolution of the Idlib question, which would prevent another refugee influx

In short, I hope the Moscow Agreement is going to be long lasting. The good thing is a direct Turkish-Russian clash has been avoided. The ceasefire will allow the people of Idlib to create, with the help of Turkey, a humane environment to survive the harsh conditions of war. The caveat is that the previous agreements with Russia, which were supposed to bring peace, collapsed. We will see if this time both parties will manage to maintain it

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Engin Tarhan

Engin Tarhan

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