Articles > > CONSISTENT SUPPORT

Articles - Addostour - Date: 2019-05-26
By: Oraib Al Rantawi

It is understandable and unsurprising for Turkey to be mobilizing its support for the armed [Syrian opposition] factions in Idlib so as to counter the Syrian army's progress; indeed, this is what Turkey has done consistently throughout the past eight years of the Syrian crisis," notes Jordanian commentator.
 
Idlib, along with 'Afrin and Jarablus and their environs, represent the only remaining card in Ankara's hand to exert pressure and consolidate its position as a regional player, thereby reserving a seat for itself at the negotiating table for a final resolution of the Syrian crisis – and that is not even touching upon everything else that can be said about Turkey's the aspirations and dreams in the Syrian North.
 
It is also understandable and natural for the Nusra Front to be at the forefront of the clashes in Idlib, Hama, and Aleppo's countrysides, and for it to operate its propaganda machine at full capacity, as long as it is classified as a terrorist organization defending its 'emirate' (in other words its final redoubts) in Syria. As far as the Nusra is concerned, the battle for Idlib is an existential one, a matter of life or death in which everything will come down to the last bullet and fighter.
 
 
But it is neither understandable nor logical for Syria's opposition groups, some of which are secular and civil and all of which are based abroad, to echo the same discourse as Ankara and the Nusra, almost verbatim. Some such groups argue that 'victory' in Idlib is a crucial precondition for strengthening the opposition's position in the final negotiations, thus improving the terms of a final resolution and ensuring that the regime and its allies would remain isolated.
 
Let us go along with those who believe this for argument's sake (some of whom include friends whose patriotism and independence we do not doubt): Assuming that Turkey, its supporters, and allies were to be successful in thwarting the Syrian army's progress and blocking the path to the Damascus/Tehran/Moscow axis's goals, what would ensure that this 'victory' would tip the scales in favor of the Syrian opposition? How can such a 'victory' possibly serve the secular, civil opposition's objectives and concerns? It will be Turkey and the Nusra Front and those in their inner circles who will control any Idlib victory, even if such a thing were possible. No one else would be allowed able to reap the fruits of a 'victory' that they have not had a hand in achieving, and when they have had no horse in the race.
 
 
Setting aside any misinformation and media speculation, the only offensive force in Idlib and its Northwestern countryside is the Nusra and the Nusra alone. It is no secret that this organization, which appears on the Turkish terrorist black list, receives modern, qualitative weapons from Turkey as indicated by field reports, and that it maintains open channels with Turkish intelligence and represents the card Turkey has invested most in. The recent battles over the Nusra's last bastions with the [other Syrian] armed opposition have confirmed this.
 
 
It is futile for the remnants of the national and secular opposition groups to continue to drown in a state of denial. They have paid a heavy price for their obliviousness and disregard for the salafi/jihadist forces' growing role ever since the beginnings of the war in and on Syria, whether deliberately or not. After all these terrible and costly developments, they cannot afford to maintain their state of denial. The Battle of Idlib is not between the Syrian state's civilian population and its military. It does not represent a split between civil-democratic Syria and the Syria of corruption and tyranny. The Battle of Idlib is a battle against the Nusra Front's final bastions; the battle to expel jihadist terrorism from its last stronghold. It is also a battle approaching the moment of truth, and the closer it gets to the end, the clearer the various affiliations and intentions, both those of local parties and the regional and international parties.
 
The opposition's remnants who still dream of a new future for Syria cannot align themselves either with Turkey and its imperial dreams in Syria, or with the Nusra and the Islamic emirate project along the lines of al-Qa'ida and the Taliban. These opposition groups cannot keep repeating the same mistake over and over again or else they will deserve to be accused of collusion with Syria's expansionist, oppressive enemies.
 
 
The final battles over Idlib are approaching, and the process will not come to fruition in a single event.
 
It may be understandable for the opposition to oppose the regime and for its allies to resort to the military option, but we can never understand it standing behind the Turkish option or siding with the Nusra Front, constantly hiding behind misleading slogans that portray the battle in Idlib as a war between the regime and the opposition, or one between the government and the people.