'So far Turkey, militarily the second mightiest NATO country, has been able to get away with virtually anything it has chosen to brew in the Middle East.
The reason why, is simple: to confront Turkey’s bullying and expansionism militarily would be like confronting the United States or Israel; thousands of innocent people would die as a result, or perhaps even millions.
Moscow is well aware of the situation. Its diplomacy is superb. And its desire to keep Syria as one entity has gained admiration and support in many parts of the world. But not in the West, not in Israel and not in Ankara.
Periodically, Russia and Turkey are able to find common ground, on many issues. The people of both countries like each other a lot; there are great cultural, economic and strategic ties. And to give credit where it is due, both governments are ready to compromise, on various essential issues.
But periodically, there comes a time when the Turkish administration begins to acts irrationally and unpredictably. During such moments, agreements begin to collapse, and people die. Russia gets caught between a rock and the deep blue sea. Russia wants to resolve things peacefully, but it is also determined to protect its most important ally in the Middle East – Syria.
The problem is that while the Russian government is extremely rational, the Turkish government is often not. And when logic and hysteria meet, the consequences can be very dangerous.*
In Damascus, most of the people analyze the situation with a clear mind. My government contacts in Syria wrote for this essay.'