It is widely recognised that the remaining 'opposition'-held areas of northern Syria (parts of Idlib and its environs, north Aleppo countryside from Afrin to Jarabulus, and the enclave from Tel Abyad to Ras al-Ayn) primarily owe their survival to the presence of Turkish forces on the ground and supply links with Turkey through the border crossings. There is also Turkish support in varying degrees for more 'moderate' armed formations, which have either become part of the three legions of the 'Syrian National Army' or have joined the 'National Front for Liberation' that serves as a junior partner of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham in Idlib and its environs. Turkey also works with Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham as part of enforcing the ceasefire arrangement with Russia in the area of Idlib and its environs.
Yet none of this means that opinion in Turkish government circles is uniform or certain about what the long-term plan is with regards to these areas of northern Syria. Realistically, the best that the opposition and armed formations in those areas can hope for is that Turkey should stay indefinitely and thus allow them to 'wait-out' a possible collapse of the Syrian government, or that the Syrian government will somehow agree to do away with itself in a 'political transition.' Conversely, from the Syrian government's perspective, its best hope for advancing its interests inside Syria further might lie in achieving some kind of understanding and engagement with Turkey.
Some within the Turkish government might endorse the former option, others the latter. Opinion within the Turkish government is likely complicated, divided, and influenced by multiple factors including Turkey's engagement with Russia in Syria and growing anti-Syrian refugee sentiment inside of Turkey. There has been much talk for example of the prospect of a renewed Turkish incursion targeting areas held or partially held by the U.S.-backed 'Syrian Democratic Forces' (SDF) in Aleppo province. It is reasonable to suppose that Russia would only consent to such a move if it could somehow produce some benefit for the Syrian government, and Russia's stipulation in this regard may well be for Ankara to engage with Damascus.
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