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Putin Planning “Deal Of The Century” Between Syria & Turkey As US Exits

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Originally appeared at ZeroHedge

Lebanese Arabic news broadcaster Al-Mayadeen is reporting that Russia has begun organizing “reconciliation talks” between Syria and Turkey, in what would be an unprecedented development, given President Erdogan’s position has long been that Turkey won’t negotiate with Damascus so long as Assad is in power.

The Middle East broadcaster cited Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who said, “Moscow will ask for start of talks between Damascus and Ankara”.

Putin Planning "Deal Of The Century" Between Syria & Turkey As US Exits

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Russia’s TASS has also confirmed the initiative, making it the first significant attempt to bring the two sides to the table, given Ankara severed diplomatic ties with Damascus in 2012. Turkey could indeed be ready given it has finally gotten its way in Syria with a long planned attack on Syrian Kurds along the border in northern Syria, which began Wednesday with an air and ground offensive.

Previously Ankara had signaled that it would only engage Damascus if it led to Assad being removed from office. But with US troops now largely out of the way, and with Trump signalling that he wants to ultimately bring them all home and let regional powers sort out the aftermath, including the threat of ISIS prisoners in northeast Syria, the final deal-makers that remain are Putin and Erdogan.

“We will be pressing for the beginning of a dialogue between Turkey and Syria. There are reasons to believe that this will meet the interests of both countries. Also, we will be promoting contacts between Damascus and Kurdish organizations that renounce extremism and terrorist methods of activity,” Lavrov said.

“We’ve heard Syrian officials and Kurdish organizations’ representatives say they are interested in Russia using its good relations with all parties to this process for assistance in establishing such a dialogue. We’ll see how to go about this business,” the Russian foreign minister added.

And in a report on Thursday as a ground battle rages between YPG/SDF forces and Turkish-backed proxy ‘rebels’ – backed also by Turkish troops – The Guardian also took note of a potential Putin “deal of the century” to end the war in Syria while ensuring American retreat:

But Putin also wants to see an end to the Syrian civil war. With the US leaving the scene, he may try to forge his own “deal of the century” between Erdoğan, the Syrian regime and the Kurds.

With the US gone from the scene, an acceptable status quo could be reached, which would no doubt involve the Kurds once again coming under Damascus, but with much less autonomy than they hoped for, and with significant security guarantees for Turkey.

The Guardian report continues:

At its simplest, the Russian president, Vladmir Putin, who is seeking to embed Russia’s influence across the Middle East, will see a chance to exploit what is viewed as Trump’s betrayal of the Kurds, the US’s bloodied battering ram in the fight against Isis. The lesson is clear: when the crunch comes, the US will not have your back, Putin will argue.

In Lavrov’s Thursday comments, he emphasized this precisely, saying:

We have been for years warning about an extreme danger of the experiment that the Americans were conducting there, trying to set the Kurds and Arab tribes against each other in every possible way. We were warning against playing the Kurdish card, as this can come to no good, of which we were also warned by our colleagues from other countries in the region having large Kurdish communities.”

Indeed Syrian Kurdish has already this week expressly stated they are open to a deal with Assad.

On Monday the commander of the US trained and armed SDF, Mazlum Abdi, indicated just that in a bombshell statement: “We are considering a partnership with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, with the aim of fighting Turkish forces,” he said.

The United States has blocked such talks for years, making Trump’s “betrayal of the Kurds” sting much worse, given the White House’s essentially ‘green lighting’ the Turkish invasion did not give the Kurds time for the crucial option of coordinating a defense with the Syrian Army or pursuing a reconciliation deal with Assad, as Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has pointed out.

Meanwhile, with the SDF now taking heavy casualties, and with no response to overwhelming Turkish air power, the Syrian Kurds are no doubt already reaching out to Damascus for aerial support and assistance from the Syrian Army.

This as President Erdogan announced Thursday, “109 PKK/YPG terrorists have been neutralized during Operation Peace Spring so far.”

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  • RichardD

    “In an interview on Thursday, Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad said that Syria will not hold talks with the Kurdish forces in northern Syria because they “betrayed their country.”

    “The armed factions betrayed their country and committed crimes against it. We will not accept dialogue with those who became hostages of foreign forces. There will not be any foothold for agents of Washington on Syrian soil,” Mikdad said.”

    – Syrian gov’t rules out peace talks with Kurdish forces –

    https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/syrian-govt-rules-out-peace-talks-with-kurdish-forces/

    • Valerianus Maximus

      Damn straight the Kurds betrayed their country. They are getting a traitor’s just deserts, no more, no less. Damascus clearly sees this as the right opportunity to root out the nest of traitors permanently. Good riddance!

  • RichardD

    Right now the position of the Syrian government according to the foreign ministry is that they’re not interested in a military alliance with the Kurds. And reproachment with Turkey may be why. It’s obviously the best solution. But if it doesn’t pan out and turns into a Ziocon Turkish bait and switch. Then there needs to be a plan B. And the more land that the Turks occupy. The more difficult it will be to deal with them. So expanding Syrian government control in the NE by putting a no fly zone in place and advancing underneath it to recover SDF held territory south of the Turkish advance needs to be an option.

  • Saso Mange

    Erdogan should accept the reality of Syrian situation. Assad survived what many believed were his last days.

    Without support from Syrian people it would not be possible. Direct help from Syrian allies could also not happen before everyone was assured that Syrians are united, for most part, in support for the government.

  • Boxman

    The Kurds could have done this years ago, US desires notwithstanding. They are now paying the price for their delusional policy of sticking with the US & Israel long after it was clear they’d been thrown under the bus and needed to reconcile with Damascus. Stupid Kurds should have seen this coming more than a year ago when the US stood by and let the Turks slaughter them in Afrin. Idiots.

    • Bill Wilson

      How was the US to help the Kurds in Afrin when that was the obligation of the SAA and Russian forces?

      • χρηστος

        the areas there were cut off by the rest of Syria. they had Idlib the terrorist state on one side and the Kurds occupied the rest of the territory?were is the role of SAA there?same as in the east of Euphrates .its a land occupied by the Kurds. they have Arab territory in their hands not only Kurdish majority areas. they have raced for the rich oil fields when the SAA was fighting ISIS near DEZ province (the omar oil fields that is)

  • Rhodium 10

    Assad needs to retake Idlib to link Hama with Aleppo through the main higway..and for other side needs to retake Omar oil field and all east Eufrates river!…while Erdogan wants to build a buffer zone for FSA through all Turkey-Syrian border….these are the cards on the table!..

    • verner

      turkey ain’t going to doanything so stupid, they’ll beat the kurds together with SAA and russian jets and then they can and will go home. nothing about the oil and erdogan wouldn’t like to piss off Putin and trump is trying to end the us involvment in the middle east and that includes any grievances as regards Iran. it’s mostly pig netanyahu who is after Iran.

  • Johan

    There can be no deal between Erdogan and Assad.
    – Erdogan wants everything and Assad gets nothing
    – Erdogan takes everything and leaves nothing.
    – Afterwards Erdogan will not obey the agreements.
    – Erdogan will change the rules during the agreement .
    – Erdogan will cheat where and when he can.
    Why? Look what he did until now, he even supported Islamic State and now claims to be the must important fighting adversary. Initiating the civil war in Syria whitout him there would be no fight now. There would now no quarrel if Erdogan did not had cheated on the peace talks who went on until 2014 and left the Kurds in Kobani be killed by Islamic state. Etc….. so nice idea but if Putin do not breacks Erdogans two legs and arms and has a gun pointed at his head it will be an onesided . Not to talk about a biased Putin favoring Erdogan.

  • Toronto Tonto

    Like all deals putin the terrorist makes it will just hurt the Russian populace .

  • Johan

    Boycott Turkey: all products barcodes who start with 868 or 869 DO NOT BUY THEM. While your governement is doing nothing do not helpErdogan and Trump commit the next invasion and Turkish genocide on the only real protectors of the world against Islamic State

  • Redadmiral

    Mazlum Abdi and Aldar Khalil are Traitors to their country Syria. There is no way for them nor their supporters to stay in Syria, unless it is burial after a firing squad. However, we have seen glimpses of patriotism from Kurds especially those in the Damascus and Aleppo areas and lets not forget that Mustafa Mero was the Prime Minister 15 years ago.
    This looks like the beginning of of the end of this Yanki/IsraHelli inspired conflict. And the sooner it is resolved the quicker Syria with her steadfast ally will be able to reclaim Golan.

  • χρηστος

    well now Putin just saw an opportunity there and grabed it. the Kurds are now ancient history for SYria. its obvious that if Turkey wants they are out of Syria for good. Assad wants the same since they are considered traitors for Syria. who can blame him?he extended his hand in good faith for the sake of Syria ,that is to work together and defeat ISIS, and they choped it off as their US masters ordered. everything has a price nowadays. they are paying it. So the Kurds are basically out of the equasion for the after war Syria. Turkey wants a role and has earned it by force. USA is out of the equasion as well. the idlib area will eventually fall. HTS will fight to the death Turkish proxies will make a deal.