The Syrian government’s deadly attack on Turkish soldiers in Syria’s Idlib province is a significant test for Turkish-Russian relations, the Financial Times said on Wednesday.
Russia and Turkey have cooperated on several fronts despite blatant conflicts of interest, but rising tensions in the last rebel-held province of Idlib, where the two support opposing sides, serve as an important test for the bilateral relations, the British newspaper said.
“This is a serious test of the strength of the existing Russian-Turkish agreements,” the Financial Times quoted Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in Russia’s upper house of parliament, as saying.
On Monday, Syrian government forces, backed by Russia, shelled a Turkish observation post established in Idlib within the framework of a 2018 deal between Russia and Turkey. Seven Turkish soldiers and one civilian were killed in the attack. Turkey retaliated with artillery attacks and said it had killed 76 Syrian soldiers.
Turkey’s rapprochement with Russia and its distancing from its traditional Western allies made it more dependent on Moscow, said Aslı Aydıntaşbaş, a fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.
“Turkey is not a Russian vassal,” she said, “but it has become too beholden to Moscow to snap out of this relationship at the first crisis.”