(Photo credit: Reuters)
Russia anticipates that Turkiye would halt plans for a potential ground operation against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northern Syria. A former US official warned that if the operation went forward, relations between Washington and Ankara would “collapse,” according to Al-Awsat news.
The Turkish Cabinet met on 12 December, chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to discuss developments in northern Syria and last week’s consultations with Moscow.
The Russian Presidential Special Envoy to the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, was quoted by Turkish media as saying that his country continued to push the Turkish side to desist from initiating the ground action in northern Syria, emphasizing that there have been successes in this regard.
On the other hand, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on 13 December that his country had asked for Russia’s support and discussed taking joint steps with it in northern Syria, according to Anatolia Agency.
“We asked for his (Russian President Vladimir Putin’s) support to take joint decisions and maybe work together to take steps together here (in northern Syria),” Erdogan told reporters in Ankara, adding that Turkiye would not ask anyone for permission.
Meanwhile, James Jeffrey, a former US envoy to Syria, warned that Ankara’s threats to undertake a ground campaign against the SDF might cause Turkish-American relations to crumble, according to Al-Awsat news.
According to Jeffrey, a Turkish invasion of Syria might jeopardize efforts to combat ISIS, especially given that the SDF was responsible for watching after hundreds of ISIS prisoners and their families.
On 21 November, Russian and US officials called on Ankara to show restraint in northern Syria and Iraq following a wave of attacks by the Turkish army on positions held by Kurdish armed groups.
“We call on our Turkish colleagues to show certain restraint to prevent an escalation of tensions, not only in the northern and northeastern regions of Syria but through the entire country. We believe that we should continue working with all interested parties and try to find some right solution, including on the so-called Kurdish issue,” Russian presidential Envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, told reporters in November.
The US – which relies mainly on Kurdish militias to support its illegal occupation of Syrian oilfields – also called for de-escalation.
“We urge de-escalation in Syria to protect civilian life and support the common goal of defeating ISIS. We continue to oppose any uncoordinated military action in Iraq that violates Iraq’s sovereignty,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.