Outside the headlines, something remarkable is going on in Syria. The Kurds, making a long-term play for an autonomous region, seem to have decided that their best bet is to buy it from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. And the US is signaling that it may be on-board — a startling reflection of its pro-Russian, anti-Turkish policy.
The presidents of Russia and Turkey said on Wednesday they support the creation of safe-zones in war-torn Syria as a delegation of Syrian rebels walked out of cease-fire talks with the Damascus government underway in Kazakhstan, citing repeated violations of a similar truce agreed on in December.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan have emphasized the need to strengthen the Syrian ceasefire during Tuesday’s telephone conversation, the Kremlin press service said in a statement.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday stressed the importance of working with “right and legitimate” actors in the fight against terrorism during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, sources in Erdogan’s office said.
Russia and Turkey’s respective presidents, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will meet on March 10 for the sixth meeting of their bilateral high-level cooperation council in Moscow, as relations continue on the delicate path of normalization following a spat over Turkey’s downing of a Russian jet in 2015 that led to the cancellation of the meeting later that year.
The top military officials from Russia, Turkey and the U.S. met on Tuesday in a bid to defuse escalating tensions outside a strategic Syrian town. The meeting follows Turkish threats to attack the northern town of Manbij, which is controlled by Kurdish groups seen by the U.S. as key allies in the fight against Islamic State.
Russian and Turkish presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan will discuss Syrian settlement during their upcoming meeting at the end of the week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.