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However, despite Russia's plans to attack Idlib, the presence of the Turkish army in the area is preventing them from carrying out an assault that could lead to conflict between the tenuous allies.In accordance with the agreement, Russia, Iran and Turkey established military observation points along Idlib's front lines, 12 overseen by Turkey and another 10 by Russia and seven by Iran.Russian presidential special envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev declared on July 31 that Russia expects Turkey to coordinate with the moderate Syrian opposition to solve Idlib's Nusra Front problem.While the Assad regime would prefer to regain control over all of Idlib, Russia may be satisfied if Turkey coordinates with the National Front for Liberation to rid Idlib of HTS and Hurras al-Din. But if Russia doubts Turkey is willing to do so, it will use the threat of airstrikes to pressure Turkey to withdraw from Idlib so that the regime can prepare a full ground offensive.Turkey could expand its limited armed presence to the entire Idlib area, which would deter Russia from launching airstrikes on rebel targets for fear of accidentally hitting Turkish forces and launching a diplomatic crisis.However, even if it retreats from Idlib under Russian pressure, Turkey could make the campaign to retake the area costly for the regime despite Russian support.
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