Turkey, US, Russia military chiefs meet to discuss anti-IS strategy

Mar 10, 2017, 00:41

Russian troops have also shown up in Manbij under a separate deal that was negotiated without the input of the United States, according to US officials. The Times of London illustrates its coverage of US and Russian troops in Manbij, Syria, with that very image, noting that this is the closest cooperation on the battlefield between Moscow and Washington since World War II. In order to camouflage the USA dependence on the YPG, a Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) was formed with the participation of a few Arab tribes and, in such a fashion, the town of Manbij was retaken from ISIL. With the U.S. -Russian presence outside the city, the Turks seem to be backing down. In the latest development, the US and Russian Federation, once the primary sponsors of opposing forces in the war, have adopted a joint position against mutual ally Turkey, giving a major boost to forces loyal and sympathetic to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

There was no mention in Syrian state media of the handover to government forces.

In a odd twist to the war, United States troops now find themselves protecting the SDF in Manbij alongside the Syrian government and its ally Russian Federation - whom Washington has opposed and condemned throughout the war.

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

Over the weekend, the US moved a small number of troops and several Stryker combat vehicles into Manbij to support the Manbij Military Council, the mostly Syrian Arab group that has controlled the town since the ouster of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria a year ago.

American defence officials said decisions over the Raqqa offensive had not been discussed with Turkish commanders in Antalya.

"They know what our capabilities are", Yildirim 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. But last-minute maneuvering by Russia pre-empted the Turkish gambit with the SDF reportedly ceding control of the villages to Russian and Syrian regime forces.

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"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.

The pro-government forces don't like ISIS and the Turkish-backed troops. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan comes to Moscow on Thursday with his defense minister for talks with Putin.

"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.

Top Turkish officials have said time and again that towns the Turkish troops capture on the Syrian soil will be handed over to local people rather than the Syrian government forces.

The PYD/PKK is trying to combine its self-declared Afrin canton in the northwest corner of Syria to the Kobani and Jazeera cantons in the northeast, but Turkey and Syrian opposition groups fighting for the unity of Syria have been trying to prevent the PKK affiliates' separatist motivations.

Asked whether this is a new mission for US troops in Syria, Davis said, "It is, absolutely".

Bragale said Mercy Corps would continue its cross-border operations for Syria from other regional hubs "to ensure that there is no gap" in the delivery of the assistance.

Solmazturk feels the Turkish government's willingness to be part of the Raqqa campaign has to do with its aspiration to create its "own" state in Syria which would be under its sway.

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