To my mind, there have been no satisfactory analyses of Turkey’s game plan in Syria. What I do know is that Erdogan cannot simultaneously play a counterrevolutionary role bombing Kurds in Rojava & a revolutionary one in Idlib, no matter how many Syrian bombers Turkey takes out. With Turkish bombers challenging Syrian & Russian warplanes & 7,000 troops on the ground, the word quagmire comes to mind. It is not ‘knee-jerk opposition to militarism’, as many claim, but the dominance of militarism & power politics over the integrity & survival of the Syrian Arab Spring. Turning Idlib into a war zone confrontation between Turkey, Syria, Russia, Iran, & US-coalition forces does not defend the Syrian revolution, but negates & preempts it & creates tens of thousands more refugees.

According to the NY Times, Turkey is negotiating to get the US-coalition more directly involved against Syrian & Russian air power. The US-coalition & Turkey have long been involved in Syria in the air & on the ground, not to challenge the Assad regime but to defeat the Syrian revolution. Erdogan, who is meeting with Putin tomorrow, has an agreement with Russia to maintain Idlib as a safe zone where civilians fleeing bombing can evacuate. His motivation in challenging Syria may be primarily to maintain the region as a safe zone so that Turkey will not be flooded with more refugees.

In short-term thinking, every time a Syrian bomber is shot down by Turkey we may feel elation. But in long-term thinking, that credulity will destroy the Syrian Arab Spring & kill thousands of civilians in the process.