’s “Olive Branch” operation against is facilitating the n regime and ’s campaign against opposition forces in Idlib.

We have a replay of the situation in in 2016, when had to look the other way as regime forces, with help from Russia and Iran, took that city after a brutal .

The bombing of the Sunni opposition in angered President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist support base, but there was not much Ankara could do because of its dependence on . That was also the time when Russia gave the green light to ’s “Euphrates Shield” operation, launched in northern in August 2016.

Angered by scenes in Idlib similar to what we saw in , Ankara recently called in the Russian and Iranian ambassadors to lodge a formal protest. It said the groups being bombed and killed in Idlib were moderate opposition forces and not Islamic terrorists, as was being claimed.

Nevertheless, Ankara now finds itself having to remain quiet over what is happening in Idlib also because it can’t afford to overshadow the green light it got from for its Olive Branch operation.

One can safely assume, therefore, that even if and Russia did not come to an arrangement involving a trade-off between and Idlib, a point Ankara is underlining, that is still what the end result will be.

Complicating the situation further for Ankara is the fact that the groups being attacked in Idlib are related to elements within the (FSA), which are supporting ’s campaign against .

It is not clear what problems this will cause in the future between Ankara and Russia, seeing as and Damascus see these groups as terrorists that have to be destroyed. If succeeds in expelling the YPG from it is very likely that the fighters dislodged from Idlib will move to Turkish held areas.

could easily come to be seen by Russia as a haven for Islamic terrorists. The main opposition Republican Peoples Party (CHP) in is also claiming that the FSA contains Al Qaida linked fighters.

Even these few points show that Ankara may face new problems that could stall its plans to clear all the territory in Northern along its borders from the YPG.

Meanwhile, Russian effort aimed at bringing all the groups in together in Sochi this week for peace talks had an inauspicious start. The group backed by refused to participate despite the pressure wanted Ankara put on them to go to Sochi.

This group asked to represent it instead, which is an anomaly in itself. It’s not hard to imagine, that there will be mutterings on the Russian side as to who will be representing; itself or the ns. It is also not clear how other n opposition groups will react to this.

These are just some of the pitfalls awaiting Ankara in as it tries to forge on with its Olive Branch operation. may have decided to throw in its lot with Russia in , but it has to think more broadly before burning its bridges with its traditional allies. It has to realize that putting all its eggs in one basket in always risky in international relations.