Calling the U.S. Charge d’affairs on the carpet, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry demanded that the U.S. stop giving arms-and-cash to Kurdish Peoples Protection Units [YPG], the U.S.-backed militia fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS] in Syria. Despite Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stationing troops in Syria to fight the YPG near its border, Ankara considers YPG a part of its mortal enemy the Kurdistan Workers Party [PKK]. Turkey finds itself at odds with the U.S., Russia, Iran and the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad. Erdogan has played all sides against the middle, backing the seven-year-old Saudi-funded proxy war to topple al-Assad, while simultaneously backing al-Qaeda now faced with extinction under from Russia and Iran in Idlib Provence. Erdogan’s been consumed by martial law since the July 15, 2016 coup.
Erdogan likes to play all sides against each other, downing a Russian SU-24 fighter jet Nov. 24, 2015, nearly causing Russian President Vladimir Putin to attack Istanbul. While Erdogan eventually apologized June 27, 2016 and tried to mend fences with the Kremlin, Turkey would like to see nothing less than regime change in Damascus. Erdogan slammed Syria, Russia and Iran for going after rebels in Idlib Provence, despite purging Syria of Saudi-U.S.-Turkey funded rebel groups, including Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF], backed for six years by former President Barack Obama. Since taking office Jan. 20, 2017, Trump pulled the plug on U.S. support of Obama’s proxy war against but didn’t stop backing the YPG. Trump already turned his back on YPG leader Massoud Barzani’s Sept. 24, 2017 independence referendum, letting Iraq take back oil-rich Kirkuk from the Kurds.
Trump’s continued support of the YPG is the least the White House can do to back eventual Kurdish independence. While Barzani resigned Oct. 27, 2017, Trump knows the yearning for a Kurdish homeland lives on. Erdogan’s too busy fighting old battles to give the Kurds’ Peshmerga fighters the credit for driving ISIS out of Iraq and Syria. “The fight against terrorism cannot be won by siding with one terrorist organization against another,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, comparing apples to oranges. Because Turkey despises the Kurds, it does not make the YPG in any way equivalent to ISIS, al-Qaeda or any other terror group. “The U.S. must step back from this grave mistake and not allow itself to be blackmailed by the terrorist outfit,” said Cavugoglu, slapping the Kurd’s Syria-based YPG with the same terror label as ISIS or al-Qaeda.
Turkey’s worked about Syria and Russia’s latest advance on Saudi-Turkish-backed terrorists in Idlib, the last refuge for anti-al-Assad forces. Saudi’s 55-year-old Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir 100% backs removing al-Assad from power, despite watching his seven-year-old proxy war fail. Al-Jubeir and Erdogna continue to back Syrian rebels committed to al-Assad’s destruction. Unlike former President Barack Obama’s backing of Syrian Democratic Forces, Trump ordered the Pentagon and CIA to stop funding the Saudi proxy war against al-Assad. Trump sees the Kurds as the U.S. boots-on-the-ground battling ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Trump no longer wants to pit the U.S. against Russia in Syria, where Putn’s spent over two years fighting to save al-Assad’s regime from a determined Saudi proxy war. Trump wants the U.S. to be on the winning side of the fight.
Fighting al-Qaeda affiliate Yayat Tahrir al-Sham, formerly the al-Nusra Front, in Idlib, the Syrian army with Russian and Hezbollah support are moving quickly to eradicate the last pockets of terrorism in Syria. Turkey backs al-Qaeda because it opposes the Kurdish YPG. “Iran and Russia should fulfill the responsibilities [as guarantor states] in Syria,” said Cavusoglu, meaning they should commit to changing regimes in Damascus. “If you are the guarantors—yes you are—you should stop the regime. It’s not just a simple air strike. The regime is moving to Idlib. The intent here is different,” referring to Turkish-backed rebels on the verge of extinction. Turkey admonishes the U.S. not to back the Kurds but picks-and-chooses its preferred terror groups when it suits Turkey’s interests. Nothing takes a higher priority than Turkey’s unending battle with the Kurds
Syria and Russia want Turkey out of Syria, despite Erdogan’s fixation on the U.S.-backed YPG Kurdish militia. Turkey can’t stop what looks like al-Assad’s final assault on leftover terror groups taking refuge in Idlib. Turkey needs to rethink its strategy alienating Russia and the U.S., playing both sides against each other. Moving on the Abu Zuhour air base, lost by Syria to al-Qaeda’s al-Nusra front in 2015, driving Turkish-backed rebels out would mark a pivotal turning point for al-Asad. After a massacre of Syria regime soldiers in 2015, al-Assad’s out to avenge losses at the hands of al-Qaeda and other Sunni terror groups. Whether Erodogan or Saudi’s Prince Mohammed Bin Salman likes it or not, they’ve lost the seven year proxy war against al-Assad. Trump recognized Obama’s failed policy, shifting the U.S. to save its resources for other global hot spots.