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With Russians Leaving Is Syria Now at Erdogan's Mercy?

Turkey announced over the weekend that its air strikes in Kurdish Iraq have killed 67 people 'all militants' - are Turkish air strikes now in line for Syria as well?

Erdogan has taken to pounding Kurds in Iraq. This Saturday Turkey announced that its planes had been active over Kurdish Iraq and had killed 67 people – supposedly all militants of the Kurdish PKK. This of course is on top of the veritable civil war he is fighting against PKK guerrillas in southeastern Turkey, and his proxy war via ISIS and Al Qaeda versus the Kurds of Syria.

If anything since the February Ankara attacks, for which a previously unheard of Kurdish group took responsibility, he has been even more willing to expand his Kurdish war. Sunday's new terrorist attack against the Turkish capital can only makes things worse in this regard. 

One way in which Erdogan could not expand his war however, is attempting what he had just pulled of in Kurdish Iraq in Kurdish Syria. Erdogan regards the main Syrian Kurdish militia the YPG as a PKK equivalent and would like nothing more but to crush it. However, it is well understood that Turkish aircraft entering Syrian airspace to attack the Kurds would meet with the response of the Russian air legion in Syria. Particularly since they would be vying for vengeance after he ambushed and brought down a Russian Su-24 bomber on the Syrian-Turkish border in November. 

However, if Russians are indeed packing up their combat aircraft this all changes. Americans alone can't be counted on to offer more than harsh words or calls "for both sides to refrain from violence" and Russians can not guarantee Syrian airspace if they don't actually have credible anti-air capabilities in and around the country. 

Turkey has struck at targets in Syria before and at one point heavily pushed for a "no-fly zone" in Syria against Syrian air force and even its occupation zone in northern Syria. If Russians are leaving Syrians and particularly Syrian Kurds will be asking themselves, how will they continue to keep Erdogan at bay or is that now over? 

The only real answer to this could be a possible Russian-American deal to wind up the Syrian mess that even Erdogan would be afraid to try to throw a wrench in. Syrians will be hoping that that is indeed what is the unsaid context of the Russian pullback.

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