Strategic Council Online – An expert on West Asia affairs said that the presence of the Chinese Foreign Minister in Damascus after 10 years could be a prelude to Beijing’s desire for a broad economic presence in Syria, adding: China sees Syria and especially reconstruction of that country as an opportunity to enhance its presence and influence in the Middle East.
Strategic Council Online: A university professor said there was no consensus on maintaining a long-term ceasefire in Idlib, noting that sooner or later this fragile ceasefire would collapse because Turkey has realized Bashar Assad will stay in power and therefore Ankara will need a bargaining chip to protect its interests.
Strategic Council Online: A West Asian affairs expert said US opposition to a UN Security Council statement in support of the recent ceasefire agreement between Turkey and Russia was over fears that Russia will hold the upper hand in the talks. He added that the agreement reached in the talks on Idlib was in the interest of the government of Bashar Assad.
Strategic Council Online: An expert on Middle East affairs said that the ceasefire agreement between Russia and Turkey is more likely to be in Syria’s favour. He said, given Turkey’s plight in Syria as well as the capability of the Syrian government and army to drive foreign forces out of their country, Turkey has to accept a new agreement.
Strategic Council Online: Turkey believes if Idlib is liberated Ankara’s role in the next political process in Syria will decline and the Syrian government may in future seek to oust Turkish forces from other areas, such as Afrin.
Siamak Kakai – Turkey affairs expert
Strategic Council Online: An expert on Middle East affairs said Turkey was in a state of unprecedented strategic confusion, especially in Idlib, adding that if Ankara fails to use these tools and is unable to come out of the strategic confusion in Idlib and gain field achievements there would remain no other way for Erdogan than negotiation.
Strategic Council Online: A West Asia affairs expert said the reading of Russia, Iran and Syria of the Sochi deal appear to be different from what Turkey thinks of the deal. Mr Erdogan is making his own personal interpretation of the Sochi deal, which is tantamount to turning the negotiating table upside down and disturb the rules of the game.
Strategic Council Online: Referring to a UN official’s warning against strengthening of terrorists’ positions and efforts to revive ISIS, a West Asian affairs expert said given that Idlib is the last hope for the terrorists and their overseas supporters, the possibility of boosting these terrorist groups exists and therefore the Idlib war will be very difficult to fight.
Strategic Council Online: An Asian affairs expert has described a security conference between heads of Turkish and Syrian intelligence agencies in Russia after long years an important and eye-catching development. “Considering its field victories Syria seems to have sent a strong message to the Turkish authorities about complete withdrawal from Syrian lands and the decision to fight terrorism and return all occupied Syrian lands.