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Can Erdogan coax Assad into dialogue?

Hopeful that the Ukraine war will tip the scales to its favor in Syria, Turkey is taking escalatory steps on the ground on one hand and testing the diplomatic waters with Damascus on the other.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to the press after meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban for discussions on Syria and migration, Budapest, Hungary, Nov. 7, 2019.
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The Ukraine war has thawed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s chilly ties with his Western partners and halted the erosion in his popular support despite ongoing economic turmoil at home. Erdogan is hoping for gains also in Syria, counting on Russia’s preoccupation with Ukraine.

Amid decreased Russian activity in Syria, Turkey has taken escalatory steps — on the northeastern frontlines with the Kurds, in particular — and moved to reinforce its bases in Idlib, the northwestern province held by Islamist rebels. 

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