Small Wars Journal

Russia Enables New Syrian Regime Offensive in Idlib

Sat, 02/08/2020 - 8:25am

Russia Enables New Syrian Regime Offensive in Idlib by Michael Land - Institute for the Study of War

The situation in Syria’s northwest is dynamic and has the potential to escalate dramatically. This escalation threatens the interests of the U.S. and its allies as Russia and Turkey face off in a region dominated by al Qaeda-affiliated groups. A Russian-backed military campaign that began as a limited seizure of terrain for the Assad regime has since evolved into a major undertaking within the Syrian conflict. Russia has set the conditions for the retaking a large swath of terrain along a key highway running through the area, and will likely continue the ground offensive until it achieves that objective. Turkey is moving reinforcements into Idlib in reaction to Russia’s push. Russia may decide to support the pro-regime seizure of significantly more territory in the coming months. Russia will determine the pace of the advance, independent of Assad, based on the balance it has established between its potential diplomatic benefits with its potential military risks…

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