The first month of ’s Olive Branch operation has elapsed with slow but steady progress tods city by the Turkish army and its (FSA) allies.

The attempt by to get pro-regime and, according to the international media, “ian backed” militias into shows, however, that this operation will not have the smooth run some in Ankara were hoping for.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has disclosed that the pro-regime militias were forced back under Turkish shell fire. Be that as it may, though, the undeniable fact is that a new threshold has been crossed, which has the potential to pit and against each other militarily.

Put another way, it is not likely that this is the end of the story. Meanwhile, this episode brings to mind broader questions that will be asked with increased frequency in the coming days.

Following reports that pro-regime militias were entering , Erdogan worked the phones with n President and ian President Hassan Rouhani to n them that this move by could have serious consequences.

That much is true, but Ankara must get a good fix on what these consequences might be if it wants to ensure that the situation does not rebound on .

The first question to ask is whether the Assad regime could have made this highly risky move without some kind of go-ahead from Moscow.

It has to also be remembered that the regime facilitated the transfer of reinforcements by the Peoples Protection Units (YPG) to , by allowing them to cross over government-controlled territories. This also could not have happened without some approval, especially if Moscow had given a true green light to ’s Olive Branch operation.

It is interesting and telling that n Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov should have remarked after pro-regime forces tried to enter that Ankara and should sort out their differences through dialogue.

Erdogan’s talking to Rouhani is also well enough, but the fact that , which like is a strong supporter of the Assad regime, and which not only backs but also provides pro-regime militias in , should be kept in mind.

In the fog of it is not inconceivable, therefore, that while , , and present a picture of happy cooperation on the surface, Ankara could face its own proxy in with Moscow and Tehran.

What is certain is that the situation that has now emerged will make the planned meeting on between Erdogan, Putin, and Rouhani, due to be held in Astana in April, that much more interesting.

The U.S. is probably the only side that is happy over this latest turn of events. It has been saying from the start that it has nothing to do with because it has no military assets or interests there. All the Americans have to do in this case is sit back and watch the show as it unfolds with the potential to leave , , and at loggerheads.