Sword of Damocles, Hovering

So, Turkish leader Erdogan has made his play. Attacking the Syrian held town of al-Nayrab on the M4 west of Saraqib. Of course he made his attack from behind what is left of the combined terrorist forces remaining in Idlib, having armed those terrorists with armoured vehicles including tanks and US howitzers directly from their own local outposts. All to no avail.

The attack was repulsed with what is described as ‘catastrophic casualties’ to the terrorist hordes. Russian Su-24 close support aircraft destroyed many of the ‘borrowed’ Turkish war vehicles and some of the terrorists usual ‘technicals’. Turkish casualties are also reported from a nearby ‘observation post’ bombed by the Russian and Syrian air elements as it was the source of Turkish artillery fire on Syrian positions.

Altogether a crushing blow to the terrorists, who would in any case have been eliminated by Syrian ground forces in days to come. There may not be enough of them left to make a similar sortie.

By provoking Turkish military deaths I suppose Erdogan is hoping that NATO will now be joining his efforts. If so, he is hoping in vain.

In 10 days time (March 1) his ultimatum to Syria to recede from all the land they have retaken since December 25, or face a Turkish military conflict, will expire. So he has that time left to reconsider his threats. President Putin has already warned him not to go ahead with that. So, for the next 10 days, a Sword of Damocles hangs over the heads of all in the Middle East – and, by extension, the rest of us. It could be the start of something really too big to comprehend. 

What do I think? For what it is worth, I don’t think Erdogan has any choice but to go ahead. His personal position depends on a victory there. But I think if he does do that his forces will be broken and it will be the end for him anyway. The big question is whether such an outcome will expand the conflict to take in the whole world. Without giving reasons, I would say not. The stakes are too high, even for aggressive US appetites. 

“SYRIAN ARMY REPELLED AL-NAYRAB ATTACK, RUSSIAN WARPLANES PROVIDED SUPPORT” – Southfront

“TURKEY SUPPLIED ITS PROXIES IN GREATER IDLIB WITH U.S.-MADE HEAVY HOWITZERS (VIDEO)” – Southfront

“TURKISH SERVICE MEMBERS KILLED, INJURED IN SYRIA’S GREATER IDLIB: TURKISH DEFENSE MINISTRY” – Southfront

“Russia’s Su-24 bombers strike terrorists in Syria’s Idlib” – TASS

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