Russia’s deadly airstrike in Syria’s last rebel-held enclave was to gain leverage against Turkey over the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, Turkish state-run broadcaster TRT said on Tuesday.
The Russian airstrike against Turkish-backed Syrian rebels and the dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan are connected, since Turkey’s open support for the latter puts Ankara and Moscow on a collision path, TRT said.
Russia and Turkey have managed to establish a relationship that is mutually beneficial but also fraught with complications in the Syrian and Libyan civil wars, where the two support opposing sides. They are strategic partners and competitors at the same time, even direct opponents in some cases.
“It’s very probable that the Russians want to give a message to Turkey,” TRT cited Eşref Yalınkılıçlı, a Moscow-based Eurasia analyst, as saying. He said Russia has been “resentful of Turkish support to Azerbaijan”.