Putin forced by US, Turkey to shelve Idlib offensive
Russian President Vladimir Putin will receive Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan at Sochi on Monday for a final bid to get the joint Russian-Iranian-Syrian assault on Idlib, the last Syrian rebel holdout, underway. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that Putin was forced to back away from the operation last week when Turkey began delivering large quantities of heavy weapons to its proxy rebel groups in Idlib province. But most of all, the Russian leader was deterred by a warning from Washington that the Trump administration would resort to military action against the Bashar Assad regime, whether or not he resorted to chemical warfare, if the tripartite ground offensive went forward in Idlib. DEBKAfile: The US and Turkey have coordinated their strategy against the Russian-Iranian-Syrian alignment in Syria.