Turkey’s leadership thrives on crises. For the last several years the government in Ankara has invented a new crisis every month, sometimes with the US. In October 2019 it invaded part of eastern Syria, causing 200,000 people to flee. In November Turkey created a crises in Libya with an energy deal in the Mediterranean and in January and February it fumbled another crises in Idlib, only to hen encourages migrants to go to Europe in March. Now Ankara may be setting its sights on a new crises in Syria to distract from the coronaviruspandemic at home.Hints of Turkey’s new plan to push the US out of the remaining parts of Syria, where Americans are guarding oil fields and continuing to support the Syrian Democratic Forces against ISIS, came in early March. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to his ally in Russia, President Vladimir Putin, and said that with Russian support Turkey could construct infrastructure using oil revenues from eastern Syria. “We can help destroyed Syria get on its feet.” Erdogan’s plan came in the context of the Russian-backed Syrian regime offensive in Idlib that had forced some 900,000 people from their homes in January and February. Erdogan wanted a deal with Moscow. The Syrian regime shelling, likely with the knowledge of Moscow, killed more than 40 Turkish soldiers in Syria’s Idlib in February where Turkish soldiers were monitoring the crises. Turkey’s response was to run to Moscow to secure a deal.
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