The comments coming out of Ankara speak of a “sustainable ceasefire” and “peace and stability” as well as a “strong and continued commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity, territorial integrity and non-sectarian character of Syria.” The message to Washington is that the US is undermining that “unity” and “territorial integrity” by supporting the SDF and in its continued war against ISIS.Russia has numerous agendas in working more closely with Turkey in the last two years. First of all, Moscow is disappointed with the US which has expelled dozens of diplomats and accuses Russia of meddling in American elections. Second, Moscow wants to encourage a Turkish-US split in Syria, tepidly backing Turkey against the Kurds in order to undermine the US allies. Also, Moscow wants Turkey’s relationship with NATO to break down. But there is also an economic element. Turkey is building a nuclear power station with Moscow and the construction was launched this week on the $20 billion project.Turkey feels more confident after the round of meetings. It has been threatening the US and its partners in Syria over the last months. It has also increased its military role in Syria, taking over the province of Afrin from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units. On April 4th Turkey’s European Affairs Ministry said that it didn’t want “any of our allies soldiers training YPG terrorists,” a thinly veiled reference to the US training in Syria. Ankara also said after the meeting with the Iranians and Russia that it would not stop until it taken “all regions” under the control of the YPG are “secured.” The appearance of unity between Russia, Iran and Turkey is in stark contrast between the disunity within the US administration. Since US President Donald Trump began hinting of a US withdrawal the Pentagon has been trying to push back. CNN reported that Trump’s national security team warned about withdrawing and “military officials have presented an almost unanimous view that withdrawing US troops from Syria would be a mistake.” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, the report claimed, said that Russia, Turkey and Iran would seek to advance their interests if the US pulled back.
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