Syrian War Over? Assad Winning As US, Russia Join Forces Against Turkey

The top soldiers of Turkey, the United States and Russian Federation met in Antalya in a first-of-a-kind tripartite summit, the Turkish army has said, noting that developments in Syria and Iraq topped the agenda, APA reports citing Hurriyet Daily News.

Hulusi Akar, Valery Gerasimov, and Joseph Dunford took place in the southeastern city of Antalya on Tuesday, the army said.

Manbij, which was taken by the YPG from ISIS past year, is Turkey's next would-be target in northern Syria, and all the other countries have deployed in a way deliberately created to block Turkey from such an invasion. As they meet with Russian and USA officials, it's clear they are none too happy.

Though it ultimately stepped back from its claim, Turkey had threatened to strike Manbij, a former IS bastion, unless the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) deployed there pulled back.

The US and Turkey are also discussing plans to recapture ISIL's self-declared capital of Raqqa in Syria.

The villages west of Manbij have been a focus of fighting between Turkish-backed rebels opposed to the Syrian government and the Manbij Military Council, which includes the powerful Kurdish YPG group.

The U.S. and Russian moves leave Turkey with "no more room to maneuver", said Faysal Itani, an analyst with the Atlantic Council in Washington.

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While Mr. Assad and his backers in Moscow have largely stayed out of the fight against Islamic State, Ankara's growing presence south of Manbij along the Turkey-Syria border poses a clear threat to Mr. Assad's efforts to reassert control.

Turkey has admitted more than 3 million refugees fleeing violence in Syria, and towns and cities along its southern border have been a hub for sending humanitarian supplies into the war-torn country.

Turkey's military chief of staff, General Hulusi Akar, is hosting a meeting with the heads of the U.S. and Russian armed forces in the southern Turkish province of Antalya, according to Ankara and Moscow.

Mercy Corps said in a statement Wednesday it was continuing to "seek dialogue" with the Turkish authorities to resume operations that constituted one the largest humanitarian operations for Syria.

"This is the main objective of the meeting that will continue today and tomorrow", Yildirim said, according to Turkey's Hurriyet newspaper. Russian Federation has pushed to expand collaboration in Syria, something that President Trump has said he would favor in the fight against the Islamic State.

Turkey views the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is waging an insurgency in Turkey.

  • Megan Austin