Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has criticized the United States for its support of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), arguing that the weapons the U.S. provided in Syria “have ended up in Turkey.”
An advisor to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said the six-year war is nearly over as foreign states cut backing for rebels, and vowed the government would confront any “illegitimate” forces, whether Turkish or American.
Foreign and Expatriates Ministry called on UN Security Council to assume its responsibilities in keeping the international peace and security and halting the crimes of the international coalition led by the United States against the innocent Syrian civilians.
Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Fayssal Mikdad affirmed on Wednesday that the United States, Britain and their allies in the region breach the Chemical Weapons convention by supporting terrorist organizations in Syria and supplying them with toxic materials and weapons of all forms.
Amid tensions between the US and Turkey over terrorism support in Syria, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said the chief of the Russian army’s general staff, Valery Gerasimov, is going to visit Turkey to discuss the situation in Syria’s Idlib region.
Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, the chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, also arrived in Turkey on Tuesday together with a high-ranking political-military delegation upon an official invitation from Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar.
The visits by top generals come at a time of rising tensions between Ankara and Washington over claims of support for terrorism in Syria.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry recently slammed remarks by Brett McGurk, the US special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition against ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) for claiming there was a link between Turkey and the presence of al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in Syria’s Idlib province, where Turkey and Russia agreed to deploy troops as part of a de-escalation agreement brokered by Russia in May.
Turkey is also accusing the US of sending truckloads of military equipment to the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey claims is affiliated with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Referring to the US support for the YPG, Çavuşoğlu said: “Russia is more empathetic to Turkey’s stance towards the YPG than the US is.”
While the US aid was announced to be for operations against ISIL in Raqqa, the pro-government media claimed that the supplies are for an operation against Syrian areas that were taken under control by the Turkish military and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters during Operation Euphrates Shield between August 2016 and March 2017.
Deputy Prime Minister and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesperson Bekir Bozdağ on Aug. 15 said Turkey is ready for all scenarios in Syria: “All troops are on the alert. We will not allow a fait accompli.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov affirmed that resolving the crisis in Syria would have been greatly advanced if the United States kept its promise to separate the “opposition” from the terrorists.
Boris Ruge, Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission of the German Embassy to the United States, on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding at the US State Department to support demining operations in Syria’s northern city of Manbij.
President Donald Trump does plan to address other world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly, and he will be accompanied by other top advisers, including his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his daughter Ivanka Trump, who stopped by U.N. headquarters Friday for a private lunch with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
US and Russian officials reportedly have quietly stepped up contacts in recent weeks to try to advance a deal on the creation of a safe zone in southern Syria.