Did Turkey Ask Russia Permission to Use Syrian Airspace?

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ISTANBUL, Turkey – Turkey has asked Russia’s permission to use Syria’s airspace, said Turkish expert Metin Gurcan of Istanbul’s Center for Political Studies.

The Turkish delegation, led by Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu who visited Moscow on December 29, called for Russian permission to use Syrian airspace, Metin Gurcan wrote in his article for Al-Monitor, citing anonymous sources in Ankara. He insisted that this was precisely the purpose of the delegation’s trip to Russia.

According to the Gurcan data, Ankara plans to use Syria’s airspace and some military bases that lie between 300 and 350 kilometers from the border with Turkey.

“That would mean flights by Turkish F-16s as deep as Deir ez-Zor in Syria,” explained the author of the article.

He said Ankara is also calling for coordination with Russian forces to persuade Bashar Assad’s army not to attack Turkish military planes and helicopters.

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Turkish officials believe that Damascus cannot unilaterally declare an air interdiction zone without Moscow’s permission, given that its S-200 and S-300 air defense systems are not technically capable of withstanding, the specialist wrote.

Gurcan wrote that the current phase of the Turkish military operation in northeastern Syria requires the opening of Syrian airspace to the Turkish Air Force. The expert recalled that when the Olive Branch operation started Ankara received significant support from Russia in Syrian air space, since Moscow opened and closed periodically for the Turks.

“Moscow’s permission for Ankara to use Syrian airspace enables Russia to set the pace and duration of Turkish military operations inside Syria,” he said.

Ankara considers it necessary to use Syria’s airspace both for operations east of the Euphrates and for the eradication of the remaining Daesh [ISIS] terrorists.

It was to Turkey that Donald Trump ordered to liquidate the Daesh after the withdrawal of the American troops from Syria. After leaving the US, Turkey could become a key actor on the Syrian stage in 2019, predicted the Russian journalist Marianna Belenkaya.

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