Hopes of Syrian crises being resolved through Astana process may become a distant dream again.
As the Assad regime indulged into airstrikes on a Turkish military convoy just north of Khan Sheikhun in Idlib province, dreams t rebuild Syria is like a pack of falling cards right now.
The strike it is confirmed has been backed by Russia, a key participant in the Astana process with Turkey and Iran. Astana process started in 2017, with the United Nations and other countries accepting it as a venue to preside over solutions to the ongoing conflict in Syria.
It was the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, who had initially offered Astana as a venue that could be used to progress ceasefire talks between opposing sides in Syria. Till date, there have been four rounds of Syrian peace talks in Astana. The fifth took place on July 4-5 2017.
The talks were initially started with support from Russia and Iran, of which Russia seems to be playing against the spirit of this peace-building exercise.
Apparently, the airstrike was done by Assad regime on the pretext that it felt the Turkish convoy was going to replenish munitions heading toward Khan Sheikhun to help the terrorists there. However, Ankara had nothing to do with this movement and Turkey has confirmed that the convoy of about 50 armored personnel carriers and five tanks was on its way to reinforce one of its observation posts at Morek, south of Khan Sheikhun on the main M5 highway between Damascus and Aleppo.
Speaking to Reuters, Saban, of the Omran Center for Strategic Studies in Istanbul explained, that “Russians and Turks don’t have the luxury to destroy Astana. If it collapses, they will have to retreat from Idlib and it would be disaster internally and externally.”
Russia might have reasons to demolish the Turkish observation post and with it receiving a supply of S-400 from Russia recently, Ankara seems to be in an obligation not to retaliate to the Moscow backed Assad forces. Regime forces are becoming strong in Syria and something needs to be done soon before it can take over the place.