The most recent ceasefire in Syria, which was initiated by the Russians and Turks, has temporarily (at least) stopped the bloodshed and the massive humanitarian wave of refugees streaming for the Turkish border. But that ceasefire, while beneficial to both the Turks and Russians, isn’t so for the Iranians, while it leaves the Syrian regime stuck in limbo. 

Until the recent ceasefire, the fighting in Syria was involving more and more units of the Turkish military, the Russian Air Force and some of their “contractors” as well as large units of the Syrian army, which, while equipped with Russian armored vehicles, artillery, and aircraft, is largely considered third-rate. Iranian led militias, advised by their Quds Force, were also active in Idlib.

The Assad regime has been waging a bloody civil war for nine years. Much of the country has been devastated by the fighting and the government is intent on reclaiming all of its territory. The last rebel stronghold is in Idlib province. 

In Idlib, the violence had gotten increasingly bloodier. And after 36 Turkish soldiers were killed during heavy clashes between the Syrians and Iranian-led forces backed by Russian airstrikes, the Turks and the rebels they’re supporting struck back. Using drones to great effect, they killed or wounded more than 60 Iranian-led militia fighters. 

This led to Iran, doing what it always does when facing a crisis, rattling its saber. 

Iran’s Military Advisory Center (MAC) in Syria, published a statement through the Lebanese News Agency U-News late last week. It made the veiled threats it always makes while trying to paint itself as being the more rational party in the conflict. The statement read: “Since the time we have been in Syria, the Turkish Army bases have been within our range of fire.”

They then stated that they’ve abided by the previous agreements and have not attacked the Turkish Army positions.

“We have thus far refrained from targeting any Turkish center in the region. In order to annihilate the terrorists and protect Syria’s territorial integrity, we will continue to stand by the Syrian nation, its government and the Syrian army. We invite everyone to think rationally about the risks and consequences of attacking Syria.”