Turkey demands answers over U.S. training of Kurds

Erdogan Calls on Putin to End Northern Syria Attacks by Regime Forces

The US charges d'affaires in Ankara has been summoned to the Turkish foreign ministry over recent developments in Syria, sources in the Turkish foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

The de-escalation zones were set up last September in an effort to scale back the conflict.

According to Aljazeera network, the People's Protection Units (YPG), the armed wing of Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), is seen by Washington as the most effective ground partner for the US-led coalition fighting ISIL in Syria.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also in the past called the U.S. arming of the YPG "a mistake".

Ankara has therefore called on Russian Federation and Iran, and rightly so, to cease and desist from their active and open aggression and military involvement in the fighting in the Idlib province and summoned their ambassadors in Ankara for this goal. The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also called out Russian Federation and Iran to stick to the joint accord they signed with Turkey previous year agreeing on a "de-escalation zone" in Idlib which were set up to scale back the conflict.

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Lavrov noted that Moscow and Tehran have reached an important stage in preparation for implementing the initiative launched by Russia, Iran and Turkey to organize the Sochi Congress. In other words, the perpetrators of the drone attacks were not local rebels under Turkey's supervision.

Humanitarian aid organisations, rescuers and activists allege the Syrian and Russian air forces have struck hospitals, schools and marketplaces in congested residential areas in rebel-held towns. It seems that a small group of rebels also managed to infiltrate the outer perimeter of Hmeymim; they showered the tarmac with mortar shells from several kilometers away and escaped undetected (RBC, January 4, 2018). It remains unclear how or whether the United States, whose military presence is confined to the swath of Syrian Kurdish-controlled territory falling between the Euphrates River and Iraq, can intervene. "It looks like the Idlib de-escalation is falling apart", Stein observed.

The home-made drones reportedly had Global Positioning System homing devices and altitude-meters to guide them to the Russian bases.

After Putin's announcement of victory and withdrawal of forces last December, the fighting in Syria and the suffering of the civilian population have intensified. While Russian-backed forces go for Abu al-Duhur, Turkish-supported ones may try to take Afrin and Manbij.

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