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Thu Jan 10, 2019, 02:18 AM

Turkey and the Kurds turn to Russia to solve problems sparked by U.S. exit from Syria


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Moscow to discuss the situation in Syria with Russian
By Liz Sly January 9 at 6:45 PM

BEIRUT — Both Turkey and the Syrian Kurds are now pinning their hopes on Russia to resolve the problems created by President Trump’s abrupt decision last month to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, which has threatened to ignite a new war between the United States’ Kurdish and Turkish allies.

Turkish officials said Wednesday that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is planning to visit Moscow this month for talks on Syria and other issues with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Kurds have already reached out to Russia for help to secure a deal with the Syrian government to fill the vacuum that will be left by the departure of U.S. troops, in the hope of averting a threatened Turkish attack, according to senior Kurdish officials.

These recent developments are set to reinforce Russia’s position as the dominant player in Syria. As if to underscore Moscow’s importance, Russian troops launched patrols over the past two days on the outskirts of Manbij, one of the most contested towns under U.S. control.

On Tuesday, just as U.S. national security adviser John Bolton was leaving Ankara after Erdogan declined to meet him, Russian and Kurdish websites posted videos of Russian military vehicles rumbling through the Syrian countryside trailing big Russian flags. The videos mirrored similar images of U.S. military patrols when they began nearly two years ago.

The Russian patrols took place in an area around the town of Arima, which is already controlled by the Syrian regime, and don’t pose any challenge to the U.S. troops located several miles away.

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/turkey-and-the-kurds-turn-to-russia-to-solve-problems-sparked-by-us-exit-from-syria/2019/01/09/7328cbba-142a-11e9-ab79-30cd4f7926f2_story.html?utm_term=.6339dc1c7dc7

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