On July 14, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan voiced concerns over an expected military operation of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) against militants in the Syrian province of Idlib during a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a Turkish presidential source said, according to Reuters.
The phone call took place after the SAA had liberated the city of Daraa and multiple nearby points from militants in southern Syria.
“President Erdogan stressed that the targeting of civilians in Deraa was worrying and said that if the Damascus regime targeted Idlib in the same way the essence of the Astana accord could be completely destroyed,” Reuters quoted the source.
It’s intersting to note that despite a formal participation of the Astana talks format alongside with Iran and Russia, Ankara is not hurrying up to combat radical armed groups, mostly Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda), in the province of Idlib.
On the same time, the Kremlin released own statement on the recent phone call.
“Pressing regional and international issues have been discussed. Particular attention was paid to joint steps aimed at solving the crisis in Syria on the basis of corresponding resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and the agreements reached within the Astana format,” the statement said. “[They] agreed to stay in contact.”
“Both sides underscored mutual aspirations to promote cooperation in diverse fields.”
In comparison to the claims of the Turkish presidential source, this statement includes nothing intersting. It could be expected that if the SAA starts making real efforts to combat Hayat Tahrir al-Sham in Idlib province, Turkey will not be happy to see it.