Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Turkey Commits to Idlib

 By: Jennifer Cafarella with John Dunford, Michael Land, and Blane Wallace
Key Takeaway: The U.S. has an opportunity in Idlib to exploit the largest rift between Turkey and Russia in Syria to date while addressing a grave and dangerous humanitarian crisis, which will worsen in coming months without a robust international response. Turkey’s intervention in Idlib Province changed the military balance in northwest Syria and created an opportunity for the U.S. and Europe to engage at relatively low cost. Turkey has compelled Russia to enter a new de-escalation agreement, but that agreement is unlikely to hold. Al Qaeda – affiliated groups began to spoil the implementation of joint Russo-Turkish patrols on March 15. The U.S. should step in and offer to support Turkey in addressing the humanitarian crisis in Idlib and deterring renewed pro-regime attacks in return for a realignment of Turkey with NATO.
Parts of this report are adapted from Jennifer Cafarella’s Testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and International Terrorism for the hearing titled “The Crisis in Idlib” on March 11, 2020. Read her submitted testimony here and watch the full testimony here.