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Syria's Idlib emerges as Achilles heel in Russia-Turkey partnership

Although Turkey is desperately trying to postpone an imminent Idlib operation by Syrian forces, a compromise doesn’t look likely.
A Syrian Army soldier loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad forces stands next to a military weapon in Idlib, Syria January 21, 2018. Picture taken January 21, 2018. SANA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. - RC19C0D8B740
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There are indications that the Syrian army will launch an operation against rebel forces in Idlib in September, after completing operations in the south of the country in Daraa and Quneitra. The possibility of such an operation against Idlib, where more than 100,000 militants have amassed following rebel evacuations from all over Syria, has made Turkey nervous. On July 14, in a phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that such an operation will be the end of the Astana process that Iran and Russia initiated with Turkey.

On his way to the BRICS summit in South Africa, Erdogan repeated that he will raise the issue with Putin during their meeting there.

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