For the first time Turkey has launched a direct military intervention in Syria, sending tanks and warplanes across the border in a coordinated campaign with Syrian opposition fighters and targeting positions held by ISIS, especially the strategic town of Jarablus.

Even before they started, the so-called peace talks about the future of Syria have collapsed. UN special envoy to Syria, Steffan de Mistura, has called for a “pause” in the talks and a resumption on 25 February. Meanwhile the Syrian Arab Army and its allies have dealt a crushing blow to western-supported Jihadists in northern Aleppo. As the balance of forces shifts in the war, none of the parties on the ground have any reason to take serious steps in the talks.

As we have stated previously, the downing of a Russian jet in Syria by the Turkish military was clearly a provocation on the part of the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. His aim was to stop an alliance being formed between Russia and the West in Syria. He has achieved the opposite with Turkey now more isolated and the major world powers coming closer to each other while Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been elbowed to one side.

Since last week when Russia began bombing targets inside Syria, Western media has been overflowing with articles about the crimes of Russian imperialism in Syria. But the idea put forward that “moderate” rebels are being bombed by ruthless Russians raises more questions than it answers.

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