Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Pushed Assad to Break Syria’s Idlib Ceasefire

Plan was to keep Turkey too busy in Idlib to fight in Libya

The ceasefire brokered between Turkey and Russia in Syria’s Idlib Province has held well, but that’s not making everyone happy, as reports are that other parties were trying to undermine the deal and even talk Assad into violating it.

There are some regional complications involved. Abu Dhabi crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed, an important UAE official, was the one pushing Assad to break the ceasefire. Reportedly he offered Assad $3 billion in cash to push the offensive against Turkish-backed rebels there.

A new war for Turkey in northern Syria would be very good for UAE interests elsewhere, particularly in Libya, where the UAE and other Gulf states are backing Khalifa Hafter’s forces in trying to take Tripoli from the Government of National Accord (GNA). The only nation backing the GNA is Turkey, and obviously their ability to get involved would diminish if there is a big fight with Syria along their border.

Russia apparently found out about this wrangling and put a stop to it to protect the ceasefire they’d brokered in Idlib. Though Russia is also backing Hafter in Libya, they don’t appear to want to risk the situation in Syria for the sake of a quicker Libya victory.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.