United States

Washington opposes Syrian-Turkish rapprochement

The United States on Tuesday urged countries around the world not to normalize relations with the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, a “brutal dictator,” after sensing the danger of besieging its Kurdish allies and threatening its presence in northern Syria.

The U.S. is obsessed with seeing the entry of two opposing sides, the Russian and Turkish, threatening its interests in northern Syria: oil in Hasaka, Raqqa, and Deir ez-Zor.

The deal, if done, will put relations between Turkey and the United States, the Kurdish Autonomous Administration’s main backer, at stake, as well as the equations of influence in the entire Syrian north between Turkey and the United States, before a new challenge.

A Russian-sponsored Syrian-Turkish agreement would help encircle, end, or target the SDF, a common desire of the three parties, as Turkey would eliminate its biggest opponent and threat to its first security. Damascus would ensure that it would assert control and sovereignty over the areas of the north that it has been barred from entering for 12 years, returning much-needed oil and agricultural wealth from its dire economic crisis.

Russia, which is not actually harmed by the Kurds and does not affect its actual influence in Syria, has as its main goal the liquidation of the U.S. ally in Syria, which, on the one hand, eliminates the reason for the U.S. military presence and, on the other, strengthens the Syrian regime’s domination over the entirety of its territory.

“We do not support countries that are strengthening ties or expressing support for the rehabilitation of Bashar al-Assad, the brutal dictator,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

“We urge states to carefully examine the Assad regime’s appalling human rights record over the past 12 years as it continues to commit atrocities against the Syrian people and block lifesaving humanitarian aid” to those in need in areas outside his forces’ control.

On Wednesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar and Syrian Defense Minister Ali Mahmoud Abbas met in Moscow in a clear sign of the normalization between Ankara and Damascus after relations soured during Syria’s decade-long war.

During the meeting, “they discussed ways to resolve the Syrian crisis, the refugee problem and joint efforts to fight extremist groups in Syria,” Russian news agency RIA quoted the Defense Ministry as saying.

It was the first ministerial-level meeting between Turkey and Syria since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis in 2011, which has strained relations between the two neighbors.

The two countries’ foreign ministers had a brief, informal conversation on the sidelines of a regional summit in 2021, and Ankara had previously acknowledged intelligence-agency outreach.

Turkey has been a key backer of the Syrian opposition since the conflict erupted in its southern neighbor.

After repeatedly calling on his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad to step down at the outbreak of the conflict and calling him a “murderer”, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently did not rule out the possibility of meeting Assad personally.

In mid-December, Erdogan announced he could meet Assad after meetings between the two countries’ defense and foreign ministers.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said he plans to meet his Syrian counterpart Fayçal al-Meqdad in Moscow in the second half of June.

In early 2011, Syria saw demonstrations against the government that soon turned into an armed conflict and relations between Damascus and Ankara soured significantly.

With the start of the conflict, Turkey has vehemently opposed the Assad regime, supported opposing Syrian factions and taken in some four million Syrian refugees.

The conflict in Syria has killed nearly half a million people, destroyed infrastructure and productive sectors and displaced millions of people both inside and outside the country.

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