Putin & Erdogan Discuss Syria Rapprochement To Squeeze Out Pentagon Occupation

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Jul 04, 2024 - 06:45 PM

During the ongoing Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) annual summit which is being held in Kazakhstan's capital of Astana, Russia's Putin and Turkey's Erdogan publicly broached the subject of a potential Turkey rapprochement with the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad.

The two have been in a de facto state of war for over a decade, with Turkish troops still occupying parts of northern Syrian territory, and after relations were cut in 2011 upon the start of the war. Turkey was foremost among NATO allies pushing regime change in Damascus, which involved covert support to ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other jihadist insurgents.

AP photo of Presidents Assad and Erdogan meeting in Syria in 2010, just one year before the war began.

But more recently Ankara's priorities have shifted as it seeks to root out Syrian Kurdish paramilitary groups in north Syria, as well as squeeze out the US troop presence there. The Pentagon has long backed the Kurds and their aspirations for an autonomous region, but both Assad and Erdogan agree that the US occupation must end immediately.

"We couldn’t meet with my dear friend for a long time,” Erdogan had told Putin at the SCO during introductory remarks. And the Russian leader in turn told a press briefing, "We continue to work actively on a number of the most important lines of international policy. We are in constant contact with you. Our ministries and agencies are constantly exchanging information and coordinating positions on key areas."

Regarding Syria, a Turkish readout of the Putin-Erdogan meeting said, "He [Erdogan] stressed the importance of taking concrete steps to end the instabilities that create fertile ground for terrorist organizations, especially in the Syrian civil war... Turkey is ready to cooperate for a solution."

This comes one week after Erdogan shocked his own population and officials by saying there's currently no obstacle which would prevent the restoration of official ties with Syria. According to the Associated Press:

His comments came just days after Syrian President Bashar Assad made similar remarks, indicating a willingness among the two neighboring countries to end tensions and normalize relations.

"There is no reason why (diplomatic ties) should not be established," Erdogan told reporters.

“In the same way that we kept our relations with Syria alive in the past — we had these meetings with Mr Assad that included family meetings — we cannot say that it will not happen again,” Erdogan said. He was referring to a vacation that the Erdogan and Assad families took in southern Turkey in 2008, before their relationship soured.

Currently, there's talk of a future meeting between Syrian and Turkish delegations in Baghdad, but the date has yet to be announced.

At the SCO meeting Putin and Erdogan also discussed the possibility of peaceful settlement in Ukraine...

Major issues which remain, however, is Turkey's ongoing support for proxies in Syria, including the "Syrian National Army" (SNA) and Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). The latter still controls Idlib and is Syrian al-Qaeda.

If a final deal and restoration of relations is eventually achieved between Assad and Erdogan, it could be the death knell for the Pentagon occupation of northeast Syria. This has long been openly stated as a goal of Erdogan, amid increased tensions with Washington, despite both being in the NATO alliance. Putin certainly wants to see that happen too.