Can Russia Reconcile Turkey and Syria?

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 1 February 2019

American base on the outskirts of Minbij, 26 December 2018. (Photo by Delil souleiman / AFP)

U.S. President Donald Trump’s surprise announcement that U.S. troops would be withdrawn from Syria came with many visible costs. The benefits the anti-Islamic State (ISIS) campaign has delivered to Syrian President Bashar Assad, Iran, and Russia were made permanent. There is also more space for ISIS and greater instability in northeast Syria as Turkey confronts Syrian Kurdish forces. And there is the political cost to the United States of leaving its Kurdish anti-ISIS partner to face Turkey and the pro-Assad coalition alone.

The one notable opportunity of Trump’s policy—a chance to heal the rift between the United States and Turkey—now seems to be slipping away, allowing Russia to continue exploiting the fissures within NATO to secure Assad’s and Iran’s victory in Syria.

Read the rest at Ahval

1 thought on “Can Russia Reconcile Turkey and Syria?

  1. pre-Boomer Marine brat

    (Necessary preface: I voted for Trump as the ‘lesser of two…’ and would again in like circumstances.)

    Trump’s MAGA-attuned pullout tweet had little to do with Syria or the Kurds, per se. He was playing to the core of his low-information redneck political base. He might also (it’s not known, and may never be) have been suckered by Der Rais in that phone call. He might have thought he’d “cut a deal” with Erdogan.

    I suspect that Trump knows very little about what’s happened in Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East and Sunni Islam over the past 90 years. He and many others in Washington seem to be taking the ISIS war as a traditional battle between nations rooted in specific geographies. Wahhabism is hardly that.


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