Turkey has launched ground and air attacks on Syrian government forces following the death of five Turkish troops and three civilian military personnel in Syria’s northwest. The Turkish casualties resulted from shelling by the Syrian army in Idlib province, where Turkey has stationed troops at twelve observation posts. With this latest transgression, Turkey is now in a direct military confrontation with Syrian government forces.
This development complicates the Sochi pact, a cease-fire agreement between Russia and Turkey signed in September 2018, given that Russia provides military support for Syrian government forces. The agreement between Russia and Turkey was made in an effort to prevent a military conflict that could cause millions more refugees to flee from Syria into Turkey. Hopes of a peaceful solution to the conflict in Syria appear to be quickly fading. Russia will face great difficulty maintaining a cease-fire with Turkey and Europe could face a new influx of refugees if the situation continues to deteriorate.