War of words erupted between Russia and Turkey shot down Russian Sukhoi Su-24 jet on the Syrian border on November 24 that resulted into death of a pilot.
Russia termed the incident "a stab in the back" while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned Russia not to "play with fire" over his country's downing of a Russian jet.
Russia started targeting Islamic State (ISIS) hideouts in Syria on September 30 in a bid to demolish the terror group.
Both Russian and Syrian forces have been bombing heavily in Bayirbucak area, home to around 90,000 Turkmens, between the northeast of Latakia and west of Aleppo. The area has been under the control of anti-regime opposition forces, including Turkmens, for the last 3½ years.
Assad's forces backed by the Russian air force and Shiite militias affiliated with Iran's Zulfiqar Brigade have captured and shifted their offensive toward Kizildag, reported Al-Monitor.
Assad regime and Russian forces are fighting in Bayirbucak to gain control of the key area to secure the Latakia region where Russia has its largest military presence. Russia also wanted to clean this mountainous and densely forested area from opposition fighters for further expansion of Syrian regime and spread its own wing toward Idlib and Aleppo; to expel Chechen Caucasian fighters from Bayirbucak.
"The desire of the Assad regime to secure more defensible, expanded territory before an eventual cease-fire as recommended in the Vienna meetings goes into effect," said Mehmet Akif Okur, assistant professor of international relations at Gazi University quoted as saying by Al-Monitor.
"Looking at the field indicators, the regime doesn't want Turkey to have a common border with the Syrian Sunni masses," Okur said.
He added that the real struggle against the Islamic State (IS) will follow a cease-fire to be called by the UN Security Council.
Assad forces will be poised to fill the void, but in order to control this area they will need to control Bayirbucak first.