dglobalnews.com US, Russia counter Erdogan in Syria as Kurds get shield
Published: Fri, March 10, 2017
Global Media | By Cecelia Webb

US, Russia counter Erdogan in Syria as Kurds get shield

Frustrated by former President Barack Obama's approach in the final years of his term, Turkey has been cautious in its approach to the new Trump administration while voicing optimism that relations with the US will improve.

At the same time, Ankara has helped with clearing its border with Syria from the terrorists, the commander noted.

The top generals from Turkey, the United States and Russian Federation met Tuesday in Turkey to discuss mutual suspicions over northern Syria military operations, as Russia's military announced a two-week long cease-fire between rebels and the government in the suburbs of the Syrian capital, Damascus. The Pentagon has described their mission as one to "reassure and deter" local parties from attacking one another, a new role for the US military in the Islamic State war, and one that could set a trend for the remaining cities to be conquered. In Manbij, "the U.S.is raising a flag, Russian Federation is raising a flag nearby, things have turned into a flag competition", Yildirim said in an interview with ATV television.

Turkish hopes to kick Kurdish militia out of the Syrian city of Manbij seem to have been thwarted as the United States, Russia and the Syrian government cooperate to deter a Turkish advance by deploying troops around the city. Syrian troops are reportedly not in Manbij, itself, but are patrolling areas to the west and south.

The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that the military chiefs talked about "the current situation in the fight against terrorist organizations in Syria in the context of raising the efficiency of confronting all terrorist organizations in the future".

The deployment was the first of its kind by the USA in Manbij.

Turkey has said that the next target of its cross-border Syria campaign would be Manbij, which is now controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a group dominated by Kurdish fighters.

But the United States has been pushing the SDF to fight towards Raqqa, Isis' de-facto capital, which would prevent a hugely symbolic victory for the side that manages to retake the city.

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A Syrian activist group says airstrikes targeting a village held by the Islamic State group in northern Syria have killed 14 people, including six children.

Manbij is a flashpoint because Turkey claims that Syrian Kurdish fighters it considers a threat to Turkey are operating in the city, despite USA denials.

The fighters "have a lot of worry, but they don't have any power", he said.

Turkey's Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar, center, U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, left, and Russia's Chief of Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov attend a meeting in Antalya, Turkey, March 7, 2017.

"There is a need for an effective coordination in the efforts to clear Syria of all terror groups because so many countries are involved there", he told reporters.

"Turkey's biggest setback in Syria is the fact that it does not have any other ally than the FSA, which is not sufficiently strong", argued Uzgel, who taught at Ankara University for many years.

Since 2012, Mercy Corps has conducted from Turkey one of the largest aid operations in Syria, assisting up to half a million civilians each month. But the US views the Kurds as an essential element of the battle against the radical Sunni group that's waged a global campaign of terrorist attacks from its self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq.

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