Putin and Erdogan agree on common steps in Syria

  • Dominika Jandová
  • 3.10.2017 15:06

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, agreed on Saturday 28 September to coordinate steps to establish four deescalation zones mediated by Russia in Syria. Erdogan has already said on Thursday 21 September that he would deploy troops in the Idlib province as part of these agreements and, according to Turkey, the Presidents also agreed to maintain the integrity of both Syria and Iraq. On Tuesday 26 September, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moual said that the Syrian government is willing to negotiate with the Kurds in order for them to gain autonomy in Syria, but only after the defeat of the Islamic State (IS), who, on 3 October, claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack in Damascus which claimed up to 17 victims the day before. Two days before the referendum on the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan, the Turkish parliament approved an extension of the mandate allowing the deployment of troops in Iraq and Syria to fight Kurdish fighters and IS.

US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have advanced in the province of Deir ez-Zor and, on Saturday 23 September, announced they have gained control over the Conoco gas field. Syrian forces and their allies face similar struggles but have reportedly been successful in gaining control over the supply route from Palmyra to Deir ez-Zor. As a result of gaining control of several gas fields from the militants, Syria also reportedly saw a sharp increase in energy production. Tensions between Russia and the US are also growing over the strategic influence over this energy-rich area. Moscow recently warned the US that they would target US-backed forces if pro-Assad units supported by Russia get under fire again. According to the SDF, Russia has already attacked its and their allies' positions. On Sunday 23 September, Russia announced that Russian General Valery Asapov was killed in a mortar bombing of the IS and that US policy was to blame.

About author: Dominika Jandová


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