Syrian Army Takes Control of IS-held Airbase

Wednesday, 17 May, 2017

So the U.S. can make some concessions to ease Turkey's concerns: promising that it has no intention of recognizing a sovereign Kurdish state, for example, or that it will cut off the arms flows if there is strong evidence weapons are flowing across the border to Turkish Kurds, or that Turkish forces can remain in control of the city of al Bab, west of Raqqa, which they conquered in February.

Turkey considers the PYD and its armed wing, the YPG, the Syrian offshoots of the PKK, a banned terrorist organization in the U.S., Turkey, and the EU. The YPG is the main component of the SDF.

Turkey perceives the militia commissioned by the U.S. as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has fought against the Turks in south-east Turkey and is recognised as a terrorist group by the United States, Turkey and Europe.

Departing to China on a visit on May 12, before officially meeting with Trump in Washington, Turkish President Erdogan pointed out that the upcoming visit to Washington will be a turning point in the relations between the two countries: "The meeting with Trump will not be at a comma distance, but at a point distance".

The spat over Syria represents the deepest crisis in bilateral ties since Ankara denied Washington permission to deploy USA troops to attack Iraq from Turkish soil in 2003.

"America is going through a transitional period now", Erdogan said, and Turkey "must be more careful and sensitive".

The former US administration succeeded in sweeping the issue under the carpet.

In Turkey, opposition politicians and some media called on Erdogan to cancel his visit to the United States, increasing pressure on the Turkish president. US and Jordanian officials said the call was previously scheduled.

In a similar way, the US disappoints Turkish expectations in not responding positively to Turkey's request for the extradition of Sufi Muslim religious leader Fethullah Gulen, who they assert directed the coup attempt from his self-imposed exile in Saylorsburg, PA.

'We are not going to declare war on the United States, this is not the case.

In interviews with visiting foreign journalists in Ankara in March, Turkish officials said that relations with the West have deteriorated because it is failing to give Turkey credit for its contributions to the battle against ISIS, and for taking in 3 million Syrian refugees. "It's the same story. Considering cooperation with the YPG as a condition to fight Daesh is in fact destroying the reputation of the USA and the [U.S. -led anti-ISIL] coalition", Erdoğan told a group of journalists in Beijing on May 14. The letter borrows heavily from talking points the Turkish Presidency used previously. "Could you accept that kind of decision?". We have fought in Somalia, in Kosovo, in Macedonia, in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I also wrote many times on this column about the PKK's regional franchises and when and why the terrorist network changed is organization structure.

The SDF, a Kurdish-Arab alliance fighting IS in Syria, allowed the fighters to leave Tabqa in return for dismantling bombs surrounding the dam, surrendering their heavy weapons and quitting Tabqa city.

But as soon as they left the city, United States aircraft tracked and killed several of them, officials said.

"They keep saying that time is of the essence for the liberation of Raqqa, that all of the planning is done", the Turkish official said. The U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations approved military action against the Assad regime and somehow the U.S. and Russian Federation reached an agreement to disarm Syria of chemical weapons.

Since the beginning, Ankara said it was a huge mistake to use one terror organization to try and defeat another. Although the two countries are North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies since 1952, the relationship has never been a fully harmonious one, requiring compromises and tolerance for behavior the other party opposed, or at least did not support (for example, the invasion of Cyprus in 1974 by Turkey; the invasion of Iraq in 2003 by the U.S.).