Russia and Turkey are headed towards a Cold War nightmare scenario after fighting between the two major powers in Syria left two Turkish soldiers dead.
Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad is driving his forces into Idlib, the last rebel-held stronghold in Syria, with Russian support. Turkey faces a humanitarian crisis on its borders as up to two million Syrians fleeing Assad’s rule are left with nowhere else to go, and Turkish forces have entered Idlib to stop the offensive. Now, the United States is mulling over its response to the escalating tensions.
The fresh concerns about America’s role in the region come on the heels of an airstrike by either Russian or pro-Assad forces, which killed two Turkish soldiers during a rebel counter-offensive east of Idlib on Thursday. In response, the Turkish military has reportedly asked the United States to deploy anti-aircraft missiles and launch air patrols in Turkey in order to deter Russia.
“The North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO] has never seen fighting of this intensity this close to the border of a member state,” said Amb. Robert Ford, the last U.S. ambassador to Syria, at a Thursday press conference at the U.S. Capitol.