Since the outbreak of Syria’s uprising in March 2011, Turkey’s Erdogan has identified himself as the godfather of the Muslim Brotherhood-led movement in the southern neighboring country.
Whether the man has unexpectedly and treacherously turned against the Syrian president for religious and ideological considerations, or was it one of Assad’s deadly flaws in foreign policy is now an outdated matter.
In all cases, Erdogan’s schemes are none but the Neo Ottomans’, aiming at reviving the glories of the deceased Ottoman Empire just before it was disintegrated by Western powers during the WWI.
To do so, Turkey had to be directly and foully involved in southern Syria through arming, training and facilitating the access of thousands of foreign fighters into Syria’s territories. Turkey founded Jaysh al-Fateh (Army of Conquest), led by the Syrian al-Qaeda branch Jabhet al-Nusra, which took control of large swathes of Idlib province last summer.
Economic warfare was not less virulent. Aleppo, Syria’s economic capital and a pivotal Middle Eastern commercial and industrial hub has for long haunted Turkish industrialists and manufacturers. The 12000 year-old city was literally looted and ravaged by Turkish-run gangs. Some areas close to the Turkish borders are now using the Turkish Lira as the official currency.
The Syrian far northern coastal mountains, where the Turkmen-inhabited and ultra-Sunni villages are mostly located, have served as fertile grounds to carry on the schemes. The towns of Salma, Rabia and Kansabba have been the hotbed of anti-Assad insurgents for more than 3 years.
Turkey already occupies Hatay province (Liwaa Iskenderun) since 1939 during the French mandate.
This pro-Turkish front (Northern Latakia, Idlib and Northern Aleppo), was meant to block the Kurds from forming their own state along Syria-Turkey borders; a dream that has been for long seen as an unquestionable threat to Turkey’s national security.
It [the Front] was also supposed to be the platform on which an alleged Turkish-sponsored ‘buffer zone’ made possible.
Today, the rebels’ last real stronghold in northern Latakia fell to the Syrian Army (backed by Russian airstrikes), who is now inches closer to Jisr al-Shoghour, the city which has been captured by Jaysh al-Fateh on May 2015.
The decisive role played by Russian active jetfighters in assisting Syrian ground troops making such a remarkable progress cannot go unnoticed. For many, the matter has far gone beyond backing up an old ally to fighting its own war.
Perhaps the downing of Russian SU-24 last November by Turkish jetfighters has practically backfired in a way that Turkey can no longer protect its proxies, nor is it capable anymore of maintaining its fantasies.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Al-Masdar News.
Zen Adra is a local on the ground in Syria.
You can follow him on Twitter: @zen_adra