Russia and Turkey Come to Terms

Russia and Turkey Come to Terms

( – Russia has always had a vested interest in the Middle East, especially when it comes to Ukraine. Through those interests and others, Russia has naturally gone head-to-head with Turkey. The fighting between the two countries has escalated as of late and seemed to nearly spiral out of control.

Peace Treaty

That is, until Thursday night when Russia and Turkey signed a peace treaty to avoid a full-fledged direct conflict in northwestern Syria.

Part of the deal includes a security corridor along an east-west highway essential to the region in the Idlib province. Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes that this agreement will put an end to the fighting in the province to alleviate the suffering inflicted on the civilian population. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan acknowledged the world is watching what’s happening and that this peace treaty was the right decision.

The securing of the highway seems to fall in line with Russian interests as allowing its Syrian government ally to control these passageways is a crucial step in consolidating control over the region. To keep Russia from getting everything it wants, Turkey’s interests were at least partially fulfilled. The agreement halted Syrian President Bashar Assad from pushing to control the entirety of the Idlib province.

Idlib province is the last contested region bordering Turkey.

The Conflict

Over 900,000 individuals have been displaced due to the offensive started by Assad last December. This created a massive influx of Syrian refugees into surrounding areas, which is now being addressed and reversed with the help of Erdogan and Putin. Turkey already had 3.5 million refugees from the prolonged conflict.

Before this point, Russia and Turkey had largely been able to coordinate their interests in Syria. Even within the previous 24 hours before the treaty was signed, 15 civilians were killed in a Russian airstrike in the region. There were also accusations thrown against both sides about potential plots to use chemical weapons in the conflict.

To think that such violence could have occurred after both presidents sharing ice cream together last summer is nearly unthinkable.

Although it’s difficult to say for certain what exactly caused the latest surge in aggression, a contributing factor was the sudden withdrawal of US forces from the region last October. That certainly opened up an opportunity for someone to take action. The nine-year-long war is riddled with plot twists, so it’s difficult to discern an exact cause for the recent bloodshed with all of the situational nuances that have built up over time.

What’s important is that, for now, there’s peace and stability in the region since the war is over.

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