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Tensions continue to rise between Ankara and Moscow as Russia digs in support for Syrian government

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Tensions continue to rise between Ankara and Moscow as Russia digs in support for Syrian government

russia turkey overflight
Photo: Marina Listyeva/TASS

Russian inspectors will today conclude their three-day observation flyover of Turkey under the Open Skies Treaty framework.

The aircraft, a Russian Tu 154M-LK-1 surveillance plane, will fly on a pre-approved flight path with Turkish specialists on board operating surveillance equipment. These flight are meant to increase the transparency around military activity and enhance security cooperation between Ankara and Moscow.

This week’s three-day flyover comes as Turkish forces become more involved fighting Syrian forces in the north-western Idlib province. Though the Erdogan government has been moving further away from cooperation with NATO in Syria and towards talks with Russia, it may be forced to make an about-face as Moscow backs the Assad government. Such a pivot may prove difficult as Turkey was chastised by the West for attacking Kurdish forces following the US withdrawal from northern Syria.

The Turkish government has yet to confront Russia over its backing of Syrian forces fighting Turkish troops. This is presumably a consequence of Russia’s economic leverage over Turkey vis-à-vis favourable trade deals and tourism to the country.

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