Russian President Vladimir Putin (center) poses with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (left) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on February 14, 2019, in Sochi, Russia. (Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

Erdogan and Putin Planning Operation against Kurds

Although the shooting war in Syria that has left death destruction and devastation in its wake since 2011 has largely reached its conclusion, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is no less adamant than ever about pursuing a shooting war of his own in Syria the purpose being the destruction of the Kurdish fighters he sees as the nation’s number one enemy. Erdogan told the state-run Russian news agency RIA that he will be discussing a military operation when he visits Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday. The Kurds in eastern Syria posed a problem for Erdogan when Turkey was technically a military ally of the United States as part of an international coalition fighting ISIS. But that, too, was a tense situation because the U.S. allies with the same fighters vilified by Erdogan. With the American withdrawal, the Turkish leader sees a clear field to take on the YPG Kurdish militia providing Putin consents. When President Trump surprised with his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria much of the criticism and objection from his allies was the abandonment of an ally that would no doubt be decimated by the Turks as soon as the Americans were gone. The administration responded with word of a promise by Erdogan that the feared action against the Kurds would not happen. Erdogan is conferring with the U.S. and Russia and wants to set up a safe zone east of the Euphrates to be patrolled by Turkish soldiers. The American administration has another issue at-hand with Turkey: NATO membership and the need to keep NATO weapons like the F-35 aircraft out of Ankara’s hands.

 

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