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Turkish defence minister to brief closed parliamentary session on Syrian tensions

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Turkish defence minister to brief closed parliamentary session on Syrian tensions

turkey defence minister
Photo: US Department of Defense/Amber I. Smith

Turkish national defence minister Hulusi Akar will address a closed parliamentary session today on the response to Syria’s February 27 attack on Turkish soldiers in Syria’s Idlib province, which claimed the lives of 33 troops.

While Ankara and Moscow have established a demilitarised zone in Idlib, opposition parties in Turkey see the arrangement as a failure, owing to the Syrian regime’s continued attacks on their forces. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Thursday to discuss the crisis. Turkey launched drone strikes against Syrian soldiers and jets under Operation Spring Shield in Idlib on Sunday.

Although the Turkish opposition is calling for direct confrontation with the Syrian regime, Russia is likely to involve itself in the armed conflict by attacking Turkish aircraft in Syrian airspace. The opposition has also signalled its inclination to gather support from NATO members, but armed involvement of other countries in this region appears to be unlikely. However, diplomatic intervention by Greece and the EU—which could face a mass wave of refugees from Idlib—may remain on the table.

Today’s parliamentary session can be expected to reach a military resolution from lawmakers, where they may agree to a coordinated strategy on targeting the Syrian government through Turkish forces and invoking NATO support.

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