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Has asked for a deployment of Patriot missiles and USAF fighters to guard the rear of a Turkish push for skies over Idlib

by Marko Marjanović

Its Syria adventure in Idlib not going very well Turkey wants the US to up its rhetorical support to actual support. The US encouraged Erdogan to wade deeper into Idlib knowing this will hurt his Russia relations, but now Erdogan wants the US to back him up in the real world, not just on Twitter:

Turkey has asked the U.S. to deploy two Patriot missile-defense batteries on its southern border to free it to punish any future attacks by Russian-backed Syrian troops, according to a senior Turkish official in Ankara.

“The U.S. has in the past sent air defense batteries to us,” Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told CNN-Turk television in an interview aired late Thursday. “In the same way, there may be a Patriot battery support,” from the U.S., Akar said during the interview recorded earlier Thursday. If there is similar support from European allies, Turkey would consider it, Akar said.

The disclosure was almost immediately followed on Thursday by a spasm of violence left two Turkish soldiers dead and five wounded in Idlib, underscoring the risks as two regional powerbrokers assert their influence in northwestern Syria.

The Turkish problem in Idlib is that Russia controls the skies. As we have seen in the Turkish-rebel push for Nairab which ended in a defeat that is a very big problem indeed.

An offensive vs the Syrian army while being pounded by Russian aviation, and with having nothing in the air itself to challenge the Russian bombers or support its ground forces, is a difficult proposition.

So Turkey’s idea is to enlist the Americans to its cause, get the US to deploy its Patriot anti-aircraft missiles to its border opposite of Idlib, as well as fly fighter patrols:

“Turkey is determined to use force to ensure a cease-fire in Idlib,” [defense minister] Akar said. “Russia should not intervene in Turkey’s actions in Idlib, Turkey has no intention to face off with Russia.”

The official, who’s familiar with Turkey’s policy in Syria, said Ankara could use F-16 warplanes to strike units loyal to Assad in Idlib if the Patriots were deployed in Hatay on Turkey’s border to provide protection.

The Turkish idea apparent from Defense Minister’s words:  “Russia should not intervene in Turkey’s actions in Idlib, Turkey has no intention to face off with Russia,” is that the presence of the Americans would deter the Russians and cause them to stand down, allowing the Turks a free hand against the Syrian army (on the behalf of al-Qaeda I remind you).

Or perhaps with the US guarding their rear, they may even entertain going against the Russians hoping they can involve the Americans in the fight.

This is a crazy, desperate and reckless scheme. Or in other words, it’s just another day in the office for nincompoop Erdogan.

I’m not sure even Pompeo, when he was egging Turkey on, had in mind baiting a US war with Russia. His idea was for Turkey and Russia to fight, not for the US to pick Turkey’s chestnuts out of the fire.

So far the prospects for US support Turkey asked for do not look promising: