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US Envoy to NATO Floats Idlib Aid ‘Package’ to Turkey in Exchange for Dropping Russia’s S-400s

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US Envoy to NATO Floats Idlib Aid ‘Package’ to Turkey in Exchange for Dropping Russia’s S-400s

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Sputniknews reports (source):

Ankara is expected to activate the S-400s in the coming weeks, but Washington has not given up on its plans to get the much-feared weapons out of Turkey. Stick has not worked, apparently, so not is the time to offer some carrot.

The United States may come to Turkey’s aid in Idlib in exchange for dropping plans to deploy Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems.

United States ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison floated the idea of providing an unspecified assistance “package” during a press briefing on Wednesday.

“We hope that Turkey will also not put the Russian missile defence system in their country; that is deterring some of the capabilities that we would be able to give them to fight against the Syrian aggression,” she said, without elaborating on what that package might comprise.

“We do want the area in Idlib, where the civilians are really trapped, to be protected, and I think the Turkish soldiers agree with that; they’re trying to do it,” Hutchison added.

“So we hope that the Turks, because they’re being the victims of Russian-Syrian aggression, will take out the missile defence system that is in the middle of Ankara and let us have the freedom to help them completely to protect those innocent civilians in Syria.”

Russia’s advanced S-400 surface-to-air weapons systems have long been a thorn in the side of US and NATO military strategists. Turkey signed up for the delivery of four S-400 batteries in December 2017 as part of a $2.5-billion deal.

Both the US and NATO have actively opposed the deal, claiming the systems are incompatible with the alliance’s own systems and could allow Moscow to obtain intelligence on US-made F-35 fighter jets – an argument Ankara disputes. Several bills have been introduced in Congress in the US to punish Turkey for buying S-400s, and Turkey has been removed from Lockheed Martin’s F-35 programme.

Despite the pressure, the weapons have been shipped to Turkey, which is expected to deploy the anti-aircraft shield later this month. The US has recently renewed its efforts to see the S-400s out of Turkey in the wake of an armed confrontation in Idlib.

Idlib is in northern Syria; it borders Turkey and is the last major area outside of President Bashar al-Assad’s control. Since mid-December, the Syrian army has been conducting an offensive in the region to drive out extremist groups and Turkish-backed militias. Turkey has pushed back, and the fighting that ensued has resulted in dozens of casualties on both sides.

The escalation was halted in early March due to a Russian-brokered ceasefire deal. It established a security corridor along the crucial M4 highway, which runs parallel to the Turkish border in northeast Syria connecting Aleppo with Latakia, and joint Russian-Turkish patrols along the highway.

Ankara requested a rare emergency NATO meeting in late February, after a Syrian army air strike killed 33 Turkish soldiers. NATO publicly condemned the Syrian air strikes, but stopped short of providing military assistance to Turkey, a member of the alliance, or triggering the collective defence mechanism.

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  • Z1

    “…the last major area outside of President Bashar al-Assad’s control.”: What about Euphrates east bank?

    • Astar Roth

      Dear Z1 don’t worry about that…

  • shylockracy

    Looks like there’s no other way Russia will ever learn, for once I’m hopeful the US will enter Idlib alongside Turkey, it’s already invaded by terrorists anyway.

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  • Garga

    This so much hysteria and their desperate efforts against S-400 tells me that they have future plans for Turkey and these defencive systems are considered obstacles, important enough to freak out over.

    I liked the part where Americans are going to help Turkey to “fight against the Syrian aggression”, on Syrian soil. They took “newspeak” to whole new levels…

    • FlorianGeyer

      The 1000 shekel question is,’ Will Erdogan eat the US bullshit’ ?

    • occupybacon

      Since Lockheed wants to sell F-35 to everyone is enough for a Turkish officer to declare for a newspaper that S-400 can successfully track an F-35 and tens of billions will be lost.

  • Icarus Tanović

    “Syrian aggression”? Only one who is doing aggression here is Turkey. This is desperate US move to protect headchopping Wahhabis in Idlib.
    No matter what they do Idlib will be liberated.

    • BMWA1

      It’s like calling a tape victim agressor for fighting back.

      • sam_koll

        Rape

  • Rita🇦🇲🇺🇸

    Same thing as Iraq, American politicians haven’t learned it was a mistake now they’re doing the same to Syria.

  • El Mashi

    The F-35 is expensive and ineffective. The United States is broke, its penniless: America needs the business, and recover as much as the cost overruns making the F-35. When this pandemic is over, there will be no US Empire. There will only be a mutually beneficial One Belt One Road and that road ends in Istanbul.
    Turkey needs to make peace with its neighbors, and focus un Eurasia as Russia is doing the same. Let Europe follow. They have no place to go but East.