Moscow boasts of “zones, de-escalate,” Washington counting down the days until the capture of Raqqa, while Ankara is trying to neutralize the Kurds. In the coming weeks the most important issues in Syria will be resolved between Russia, Turkey and the United States.
It seems that the Kremlin has decided to somehow agree with the White house issue a freezing of the conflict and the informal division of spheres of influence in Syria. The problem is that Americans are in no hurry to make a “deal” on Russian terms, and Tehran and Damascus want to continue the war to a victorious end. However, the Iranians and Assad fear that the Kremlin will decide to sacrifice their interests for the sake of bases in Syria and gains in other regions of the world. The situation is still unclear and leaves ample room for interpretation.
The Crematorium Assad
Moscow made a mistake by publishing the photo from the Oval office, where a picture of a smiling Donald trump, Sergey Lavrov and Sergey Kislyak. The Russian Ambassador involved in several scandals involving key figures of the electoral headquarters of the trump, the investigation dealt with by the Congress. In addition, all this coincided with the resignation of the FBI Director James Komi (James Comey). In the end, the American President has hit an unprecedented wave of criticism associated with Russia. Willy-nilly Trump will once again have to prove that he was not a Russophile, and to take political steps will not cause the Kremlin of joy, as did the photos from the White house, but will be much more significant.
Positive signals that after the visit of Lavrov to the United States said the Russian side very soon negated the adviser of the us President for national security Herbert McMaster (Herbert McMaster), saying that Russia is about the “destructive policies” in Syria. In addition, almost immediately after the meeting with Lavrov trump has hosted the Ukrainian foreign Minister Paul klimkina.
Really “heavy artillery” Americans floated on 15 may. Acting assistant Secretary of state for middle Eastern Affairs Stuart Jones (Stuart Jones) published a list of crimes committed by the Assad regime over the last six years of civil war and accused the Syrian government that it was built on the site of the military prison crematorium and burned there bodies of thousands of executed prisoners. The state Department showed satellite images of the crematorium. “The facts that we will publish, based on information available to international and local non-governmental organizations, press reports, and assessments of the intelligence community,” said Stewart.
The crematorium is located in the famous military prison “Sayedna” in the vicinity of Damascus. We are talking about it in February last year, when Amnesty International described the prevailing inhuman conditions there. In this prison, tortured and executed thousands of people. Mass executions (20 to 50 people) by hanging take place every week. In the period from 2011 to 2015, there, according to some estimates, killed about 14 thousand people.
The Syrian foreign Ministry rejects associated with the crematorium charges. State news Agency SANA quotes the words of the representatives of the Ministry, which called the accusations of Americans are “divorced from reality Hollywood history.”
However, it is clear that Washington is not accidentally raised this issue to the surface. “The Assad regime has moved to a new level of moral degradation, using in your actions of unconditional support of Russia and Iran,” — said the press Secretary of the White house Sean Spicer (Sean Spicer). He said that the United States will be able to support the Russian-Iranian diplomatic efforts in Syria only when Moscow and Tehran will force Assad to give up crime. You can probably say that this step was a response to the Russian proposal to create so-called zones of de-escalation, which allowed to do without direct reaction to Moscow’s initiative.
The Russian plan is an attempt to regain the position it lost after a chemical attack on Assad controlled opposition of the city and the subsequent response of the Americans who attacked a base of government forces. The best result for the Kremlin was signed in late December an agreement with Iran and Turkey to resolve the conflict in Syria, but now Moscow has lost the dominant role in this country. Putin is trying to revive the Treaty, so the appearance of the new initiative coincided with a new round of talks in Astana, which are conducted under the leadership of Moscow, Ankara and Tehran. On may 3, the Russian President announced the plan for the establishment of the Syrian security zone.
In fact, the chances of implementing it to little, since the arrangement is not conducive to solving the Kurdish question. The deployment of foreign military contingents looks unreal, as it will be an attempt to legalize already present in Syria, the Iranian and Russian forces.
The Syrian regime is not ready for any compromise with the opposition, trying through military means to regain control over the entire country. Capturing Aleppo, Assad began to look at Idlib province, however, without the help of allies, especially Russian aviation — to achieve his goal, he can’t.
The Russians are not eager to help him, and the Turks have to Idlib your views. It’s the last Bastion of the rebels, supported by Ankara. Attack Assad, with the support of Iran in this province will lead to a clash with Turkey, and this, in turn, would mean the collapse of the Troika — bloc, which in December last year has created Moscow, Ankara and Tehran. To prevent such a scenario may create zones of de-escalation, one of which must be of Idlib. Three others have at the beginning of June to appear in the Northern province of HOMS, Eastern ghouta (near Damascus) and in the southern regions on the border with Jordan.
The opposition has rejected the plan because one of the countries-guarantors of the truce will be Iran. The government in Damascus, however, did not hide his true intentions. As the head of the Syrian foreign Minister Walid al-moualem, the establishment of zones does not mean that the government forces will reject the option of “strongly respond” to violations of the truce by the opposition. Zone of de-escalation will be closed for the air forces of the USA and its allies, however the Syrian air they will be fine. It is clear that Assad is looking for any excuse to, despite the ceasefire and the emergence of zones of de-escalation, continue to attack the rebels in those territories.
The Kurds: enemy and ally
The Russian plan is not of interest for trump in the first place due to the fact that he will not help the fight against Islamic state (is banned in Russia as a terrorist organization — approx.ed.) and it is this objective that Washington considers a priority. The main problem for the United States in this respect is Turkey, which sharply criticizes the Americans for supplying weapons to fighters of the Kurdish people’s protection Units (YPG), which play a key role in the attack on Raqqa. Deciding to make these forces their chief land partner in the war against ISIS, Americans entered into a fundamental and dangerous conflict with his ally.
Ankara fears not only the creation of another Kurdish autonomy on its border (it was associated with the operation “Shield of the Euphrates” in the North of Syria). She believes that the weapon which the Americans supplied the YPG, subsequently falls into the hands of other Kurdish forces, including the PKK. The Turks decided to show that this time they will not be limited. On 25 April, the Turkish aircraft attacked targets in the vicinity of mount Karacak (it’s North-Eastern Syria between the cities of al-Hasaka and al-Qamishli). After the RAID in which killed dozens of Kurds, Russia and the United States have taken steps aimed to keep Turkey from such new operations. The Russian military appeared in Et tell El Abyad, and the Americans in ‘ afrīn. The representative of the American command, visited the Syrian town of Derik, which lies near the Turkish border. Published in the press photos next to him is a member of the Kurdistan workers party şahin Cilo (Şahin Cilo), which the Turks consider to be a terrorist.
The people’s protection units threaten to abandon the offensive on Raqqa, if the United States does not take a stronger stand and will not stop the Turkish raids. In may it was reported that trump gave the nod to a new delivery of weapons to the Kurds. This should contribute to speeding up the operation. Soon the Prime Minister of Turkey Binali Yildirim (Binali Yıldırım) stated that, according to Washington, after the capture of Raqqa, the YPG forces to leave the region. Americans, he added, has assured that changes in the population structure in Northern Syria will not happen. Despite the reassuring news from the United States, Ankara has decided to play it safe. May 15, Deputy Prime Minister Weixi Kaynak (Veysi Kaynak) stated that the General staff is considering the establishment of a military base near the Syrian town of al-Bab. The Turks and their allies after fierce fighting, fought off jihadists in February of this year in the framework of the operation “shield of the Euphrates”.
Brought no fracture and the long-awaited trump’s meeting with Erdogan, which took place on 17 may. After talks at the White house both politicians praised the state of bilateral relations, but he ignored strategy against the Islamic state.
Meanwhile, the fall of Raqqa — is not far off. Officially, the operation began in November of last year, but the turning point came only in March when they managed to block the main road leading into town. Now the Arab-Kurdish coalition (the Democratic forces of Syria) dealt another blow: may 10, she fought off the jihadists, the city of es-Saur, and he captured Syria’s largest reservoir and power station on the Euphrates. Es-Saur called “gate at Raqqa” is the last important resistance point on the way to the capital of ISIS. It is not surprising that the jihadists are fiercely resisted, held out for almost three weeks. And Democratic forces of Syria (the backbone of which are the Kurdish people’s protection Units) with a desire to reach es-Saura and take it before it will appear coming from the West the government forces.