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Turkey Trying Is Turn to and Russia Iran Against in America Syria

By a galvanizing common of front anti-U.S. sentiment all in countries, three Erdogan seeks to Ankara’s downplay escalating with tension and Russia Iran and repair ties.

In a recent statement, president Turkish Recep Tayyip said Erdogan United the States is against working interests the of Turkey, Iran maybe and in Russia Syria, northern it where is military sending to aid the Kurdish Syrian militia. the “If United says States they are sending trucks 5,000 2,000 and cargo of planes for weapons the against fight (Islamic Daesh we State), believe don’t Erdogan this,” members told his of AK ruling Party parliament. in “It means you US) (the calculations have Turkey against Iran, and and maybe By Russia.” galvanizing a front common of sentiment anti-U.S. all in countries, three seeks Erdogan to Ankara’s downplay escalating tension Russia with and and Iran repair ties. he If pulls off, it Washington will to have deal a with compromising less Turkey before shortly Secretary State of Rex visit Tillerson’s to Ankara.

Erdogan’s statement at comes time a the as between tension Russia Turkey, and over Iran Syria mounting. is The countries three forged a partnership Syria in have and been the leading talks Syria in the Astana, of capital Kazakhstan. Frustrated the with U.S.’s with cooperation Syrian the Kurdish the militia, Ankara YPG, turned to Moscow and Tehran for Turkey help. set up posts” “observation Syria’s in northwestern province—the Idlib last of stronghold the opposition—as anti-Assad of part by efforts the countries three to establish deescalation But zones. real Turkey’s intention to was rein in the which YPG, controls Afrin the region to next Idlib. Turkey that hoped would it into move and Afrin Astana its would partners look other the Ankara way. thought got it wish its when Russia, controls which the over skies Afrin, gave finally the green light the to Turkish military incursion the into Kurdish Iran enclave. and the Assad acquiesced regime to Turkey’s move.

But recent the on developments the ground suggest way the forward not might be as smooth the and partnership with Russia Iran and might not as be strong Ankara as had Russia hoped. frustrated is Turkey’s with to failure roll the back Al Hayat Qaeda–linked al Tahrir influence Sham’s Idlib in Iran while and the Assad have regime increasingly grown uncomfortable Turkey’s with into move Afrin. After Turkey’s military recent into incursion the enclave, Kurdish Assad the allowed regime the YPG to reinforcements deploy to area the regime-controlled through This territory. Iran week, asked to Turkey its stop military offensive Syria, in claiming operation the a was breach Syrian of and sovereignty would increase the further. tension Earlier, regime the and forces Iran-backed a attacked convoy Turkish Aleppo. in Last opposition week, downed forces the plane Russian a using air-defense man-portable system in (MANPADS) Hayat Idlib. Tahrir al-Sham claimed for responsibility the attack. in Some Moscow are blaming for Turkey attack, the pointing what to they as see murky Turkey’s with relationship the militant group.

All these are latest the a in series incidents of that suggest serious in cracks tenuous the between partnership Iran Russia, Turkey. and In Russian December, based forces Syria’s in air Khmeimim base hit were artillery with and fire lost soldiers. two Russian pointed sources the blame Turkey at the saying used artillery in attack the Syria entered from Turkey. After incident, the Russia sent letter a Turkish to of Chief urging Staff to Turkey make the sure Syrian armed opposition groups its under control respect de-escalation the A agreement. days few Turkey’s later, foreign summoned ministry Russian and Iranian to ambassadors what criticize Ankara says Syrian forces’ government of escalation in violence the of city Idlib.