Washington — on Tuesday, March 7, a high-ranking officer of the us armed forces met with their colleagues from Russia and Turkey to discuss how to avoid unintentional confrontations between the military of these countries in the North of Syria.
Unusual tripartite meeting was held in Antalya, Turkey. It was attended by Chairman of the joint chiefs of staff General Joseph Dunford, Jr., (Joseph F. Dunford Jr.), the chief of the General staff of the Russian armed forces General Valery Gerasimov and their Turkish counterpart, General Hulusi Akar (by Hulusi Akar).
As the representative of General Dunford in his statement, the main purpose of the meeting was to discuss “the fight against all terrorist organizations in Syria” and the “importance of additional measures to prevent conflict situations” between the military of these three countries.
In recent years the situation in the North of Syria became extremely tense. With the support of American and Russian aircraft, the Turkish military and the Syrian troops recently retook the town of al-Bab from the “Islamic state” (a terrorist group banned in Russia — approx. ed.).
However, the main goal of Turkey is not so much against ISIS as to prevent the Syrian Kurds to create minigostinitsa in the North of Syria. That raised concerns related to the fact that the Turkish troops and their allies in the ranks of the Syrian opposition may try to capture Manbij, a town in Northern Syria, where ISIS drove Syrian Arab and Kurdish groups, supported by the United States.
The fighters defending Manbij, do not believe that Turkey’s position is limited to “saber rattling”. Last week in an interview with the head of the Military Council Manuja Amjed Abu (Abu Amjed) said the Turkish military fired its militants and that he believes Turkey is a bigger threat than ISIS.
Against the background of escalation of the situation, the Military Council Manuja tried to prevent the attack of Turkish troops, having signed an agreement with Russia on the transfer of the surrounding villages under its control, the Syrian government forces, under President Bashar al-Assad. In the framework of this agreement in Manbij moved a convoy of the Syrian government with humanitarian aid, which stopped not far from the city.
At the same time, U.S. military Stryker combat vehicles and army jeeps Humvee began to appear in and around Manuja to prevent attacks Turkey-backed groups and other groups in this city. Among the American troops a detachment of Rangers, which, apparently, were sent to Northern Syria to an American military base in Abril, Iraq. For the American Rangers it has become a rather unusual role, as they prefer to work in the shadows.
Press Secretary of the Pentagon captain Jeff Davis (Jeff Davis) said on Monday, March 6, that the transfer of the U.S. military had become “a visible testimony to the checks and safeguards”.
“We are concerned about everyone who believes that Manbij must be freed,” he added.
One U.S. official described the situation around Manuja as a potential powder keg. There are already several incidents of open fire, including an airstrike that last week the Russians inflicted on the Syrian Arab fighters, whose training was conducted by the Americans. The most serious concern is the fact that even a minor incident can lead to rapid escalation and prevent the forces supported by the Americans, to capture Raqqa — the self-proclaimed capital of the Caliphate of the “Islamic state”.
“It is necessary to establish an effective system of coordination of actions in trying to free Syria from all terrorist groups, because this process involved a lot of countries, — said the Prime Minister of Turkey Binali Yildirim (Binali Yildirim), speaking about the meeting of the generals. — This was the main purpose of the meeting”.
However, the problem faced by the United States and Turkey, goes far beyond the problem to draw a clear front line.
American special operations forces believe the people’s protection Units — the units of the Syrian Kurds as an important ally in the fight against “Islamic state” in Syria.
Although President trump has not yet made a final decision in this matter, the American army has made to provide the people’s protection Units armored vehicles, heavy machine guns and anti-tank guns, so they were able to take part in the operation to capture Raqqa.
Turkey, which considers Kurdish terrorists, strongly protested against such a step. The American military leadership tried to find ways to reassure Turkey, including by increasing the number of Syrian Arabs in the operation to capture Raqqa.