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Turkish-Russian alignment in Syria faces moment of truth

The escalating offensives of Russian-backed regime forces in Idlib are changing the military picture in the whole of northwestern Syria, putting Russian-Turkish ties to a serious test.

For nearly two years, Moscow has been facing an inevitable choice between Ankara and Damascus in Syria’s rebel-held province of Idlib, the consequences of which will bear directly on the Turkish-Russian alignment in recent years, which has been shaped by the “strongman brotherhood” between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Developments in Idlib over the past several weeks signal that Moscow is opting for Damascus at the expense of losing Ankara in northwestern Syria.

Regime forces, backed by Russian air power, have stepped up their attacks on Idlib since early January, advancing both from the south of the province and western Aleppo. The escalating thrust is changing the military picture in the entire region to the west of the Euphrates, while putting Turkish-Russian ties to a serious test.

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