As reported in last week’s Trends Journal, the threat of an expanding war is ever present as Turkey seeks to maintain a military presence in Syria’s northwest region of Idlib.
This region has been controlled by rebels trying to oust the Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad since 2011, but, over the past few weeks, the conflict has escalated dramatically as Syrian forces push hard to get the territory back under control.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he would not let the Syrians regain control of their Idlib region: “We would like to remind those who try to corner Turkey by forcing their own agenda onto it, that we are not guests in this region, but its masters.”
Mr. Erdoğan’s head of communications stated, “The illegitimate regime which turned its guns on our soldiers will be retaliated against.”
All Out War
 Last Thursday, Syria launched an airstrike in Idlib, killing over 30 Turkish soldiers and wounding dozens.
Following the airstrike, Erdoğan called Russian President Putin, claiming to warn the Russian leader to back off his troops from Idlib: “I asked Mr. Putin ‘what’s your business there?  If you establish a base, do so but get out of our way and leave us face to face with the regime’.”
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: In September 2015, Russia was invited by Syrian President Assad to fight rebel groups funded and supported by the United States, which, as with Turkey, has illegally invaded and occupied a sovereign nation.
 Among the western media and their politicians, however, the illegality of invading, bombing, destroying, occupying, and murdering several hundred thousand people in a sovereign nation is ignored. Indeed, President Trump voiced his support for Turkey’s invasion and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the Syrian/Russian attack on Friday “despicable and braze.”
 Turks Ramps Up War
 The day after the Turkish soldiers were killed, President Erdoğan ordered a major military offensive, killing 50 Syrian soldiers and ten members of the Lebanese Hezbollah militia supporting Assad.
Turkish drone and artillery bombardments hit over 200 targets in the Idlib region, the largest offensive yet of the entire conflict.
On Sunday, Turkey shot down two Syrian jets. Turkish Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar claimed eight Syrian helicopters were destroyed along with over 100 tanks, dozens of artilleries, and three air defense systems.
TRENDPOST: The escalation of war has worsened the Syrian refugee crisis in which over five million citizens have fled the nation. One million now have fled Idlib as Syria and Russian forces fight to expel rebel forces occupying the region and the Turkish military fight to occupy it.

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