Ankara demonstrated that the blood of the soldiers martyred in Idlib will not be in vain, as it carried out heavy attack in retalition.
Dozens of footage broadcast on television screens showed how Assad regime forces, air and land vehicles were "hunted" meant that there’s no questioning Turkey’s resolve in that regard.
Helicopters, tanks, ammunition depots, mid-range air defense systems were destroyed, yesterday alone two fighter planes were downed.
The Ministry of National Defense announced this important development with a statement that read “Two SU-24 aircraft belonging to the regime that attacked our aircraft were downed.”
When President Tayyip Erdoğan gave a deadline until the end of February, when talk of a military operation began to stir, the question of whether or not the Syrian airspace could be used, and how, came to mind.
On those days, I asked this very same question to a source close to military circles who is familiar with the capabilities of the Turkish Armed Forces in technical terms.
"Is there any way to use the Syrian airspace despite the Russians being there?"
The reply came as follows:
"Yes, it’s possible. By using long-range weapons fired from our own airspace, engagement with targets in the air and ground can be achieved.”
According to the same source, this opportunity would not be as advantageous as using the Syrian airspace as it was in previous operations, but it was important that such an option was available because it showed that the hands of the Turkish Armed Forces are not tied.
Combat drones and guided missiles..
When the attack that martyred 33 of our soldiers in Idlib took place on Thursday evening, it was out of the question that Ankara will respond.
As the striking force, combat drones entered the Syrian airspace and carried out effective operations against regime elements, as we have seen together on television screens for the past 3-4 days.
But the response was not confined to this.
As the source I cited above pointed out, the F-16s started firing at targets in Syria before they entered the Syrian airspace.
There are "cruise missiles" in the inventory of the Turkish Armed Forces, with a range of up to 30, 50, 70 or even 250 kilometers.
Of course, we are not trying to say that all of them have been used.
What I’m trying to say is that there is such an option, some are being used right now and that Turkey is not “helpless” with regards to the airspace debacle.
The penetration of the combat drones, and the bigger targets, is to strike targets with long-range missiles before entering the Syrian airspace.
These concern the aerial aspect of the operation, which has been ongoing for three or four days now.
An effort to sit at the table by securing gains on the field
The concept of "on the field and on the negotiating table" has now become a part of our daily lives.
The “negotiating table” between Turkish and Russian delegations will once again convene on March 5.
It was announced yesterday that President Erdoğan will meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow on March 5.
I heard that this decision was actually taken during the phone call on Friday morning, but the announcement was postponed.
We can interpret what happened on the field over the past few days as both "strong-arming" and looking for ways to secure gains before sitting at the table on March 5.
As Henry Kissinger puts it, “Unless the shadow of your power falls on the table of diplomacy, what you say at that table will not go beyond verbiage.”
It’s obvious that the aim of the heavy attack targeting Turkish Armed Forces on the eve of Feb 27 in Idlib was to force Turkey to “surrender.”
To Immediately create an atmosphere of panic and the Turks will retreat in a hurry.
That was what they hoped for.
On such a day, if it were any lesser leader than President Erdoğan at the helm, the desired “defeat” message would have already been received by those it was meant for.
However, Erdoğan reiterated the next day during his phone call with Putin, that he would not take a step back, that Turkey won’t be waiver from its determined stance and that it won’t be so easily strong-armed.