The lessons of Idlib

The Wall Street Journal – After nine years of civil war, Syria doesn’t get much attention these days. But a Russian-Syrian military offensive in Idlib province is a reminder that the broken country’s problems seldom stay within its borders.

In December the Russia-backed Assad regime began a push to retake Idlib, the country’s last opposition-held province. Turkey has fought a lonely fight against the offensive, which has taken a terrible toll on civilians and has become bloodier in the past week. Last Thursday the regime killed more than 30 Turkish soldiers—the most casualties in a day since Ankara entered the conflict in 2016. The Turks have been retaliating, and it’s unclear how the offensive will end.

Already some one million refugees—the biggest displacement in the war—have headed toward the Turkish border. This is a political and practical problem for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose country is losing patience with the roughly four million refugees it already holds. In 2016 Mr. Erdogan cut a deal with the European Union to house these migrants, but he occasionally threatens to unleash them on Europe.

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