Is Ankara Trying to Derail Syria Truce to 'Drive Wedge Between US, Russia'?

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Wednesday, the commander of the Russian center for reconciliation Lt. Gen. Sergei Kuralenko said Turkish attacks on Syrian Kurds aim to derail the cessation of hostilities regime brokered by Washington and Moscow that went in effect on Saturday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed the Syrian Kurds have connections with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is fighting for independence from Turkey and is considered a terrorist organization by Ankara.

"Erdogan has every reason to intentionally drive a wedge between Russia and the United States," Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald, authors of highly-acclaimed books on US foreign policy, told Sputnik. "He needs a reason to get somebody to come to his aid, but deliberately trying to undermine the ceasefire will most assuredly backfire."

Erdogan is increasingly desperate to get something moving in his favor as he loses control of the domestic situation and finds himself at cross purposes with the United States and NATO over Syria, Gould and Fitzgerald observed.

Kurdish politics analyst Himan Hosseini told Sputnik the implementation of the ceasefire in Syria has not stopped terrorist groups — including the Daesh, al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham — from waging attacks on Kurdish fighters and civilians in Aleppo, Afrin and Tel Abyad.

"It seems all these Islamist groups have been emboldened by Turkish indiscriminate shelling of the very same regions [in Syria]," Hosseini noted.

Hosseini called on the United States to warn Turkey that cross-border shelling of Kurdish-controlled areas is a violation of Syrian territorial integrity, and is weakening international efforts to destroy terrorist groups.

"Erdogan should be warned that his regional policies stemming from neo-Ottoman ambitions are too costly for the whole international community," Hosseini claimed.

Ankara should also be told, Hosseini added, that it cannot use its membership in NATO as a shield to support terrorist organizations.

On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Turkish-Syrian border must be sealed off in order to curtail terrorist movements and deliveries of weapons concealed in shipments of humanitarian aid.

White House and State Department officials said earlier this week that the United States has seen a reduction in violence since the ceasefire took effect, albeit with some reports of violations that should be investigated.

The Russian center on Syrian reconciliation registered 14 violations of the ceasefire regime in Syria in the last 24 hours, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday.

( Source )

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