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    Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fighters carry their weapons while riding on the back of a pick-up truck in Qamishli, Syria, March 11, 2016

    US Seeking to Create a Kurdish State in Turkey's Underbelly – Analysts

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    Instead of lauding Washington's foreign policy approach toward Damascus, Ankara needs to protect its national interests, Turkish analysts told Sputnik, stressing that the US seeking nothing short of establishing a Kurdish corridor in northern Syria thus threatening Turkey's security.

    Washington's major goal in Syria is to create an independent Kurdish entity and force other players, primarily, Damascus, Moscow and Ankara to recognize it through blackmail and threats, Yunus Soner, deputy chairman of Turkey's left-wing Vatan Party (the Patriotic Party), told Sputnik Turkey.

    "US President Donald Trump recently said that the US military would be withdrawn from the Syrian territory," Soner recalled. "The first concrete step in this direction was the decision to stop providing assistance to the Kurdish forces in northern Syrian regions under their control. But then an [alleged] chemical attack in Douma occurred, clearly demonstrating the degree of pressure exerted by the American establishment on Trump."

    The Turkish politician referred to the Pentagon's critical approach to Trump's decision. According to Soner, the US is seeking to develop a long-term plan of dealing with the Syrian authorities. Citing media reports, he has presumed that Washington plans to ensure the security of a "corridor" northern Syria and conduct a military operation which would force Damascus and Russia to recognize the corridor's "legitimacy."

    According to the politician, Turkey shouldn't become Washington's tool in Syria but decisively pursue its own national interests.

    "The main problem is not even so much whether this chemical attack [in Douma] really took place but how the American structure, dubbed by Trump the 'deep state,' is proceeding with its activities aimed at partitioning Syria," Soner opined. "In order to ensure the unity of Syria, Turkey, as well as global peace and stability in the region, the Turkish government must work together with Russia, Iran and the Syrian authorities."

    For his part, Turkish political analyst Mehmet Guller has lambasted Ankara's support of the US draft on Syria within the framework of the UN Security Council discussion. He stressed that "the position supporting groundless accusations against the Syrian authorities of the use of chemical weapons contradicts the spirit of the Astana negotiation process," highlighting that Turkey remains one of its guarantors.

    According to Guller, Ankara's approach towards Damascus was predestined to face serious contradictions: Despite Turkey foreign policy shift from the Atlantic front to the Eurasian one, the ruling Justice and Development (APK) Party has not abandoned its hostile attitude toward the Syrian government.

    "In the face of mounting tension between the US and Russia on the ground, Ankara has tried to choose a middle path and create room for maneuver in areas advantageous to [Turkey's] domestic politics," the political analyst emphasized.

    On April 7, 2018 reports had emerged claiming that a chemical attack had been conducted in the Syrian town of Douma, Eastern Ghouta. The Trump administration rushed to point the finger of blame at the Bashar al-Assad government despite the fact that no credible evidence had surfaced to back up the assumption.

    On April 8 the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement claiming that they "have a strong suspicion" that the alleged attack was carried out by the Assad government, "whose record on the use of chemical weapons is known by the international community."

    However, Ankara failed to mention that Damascus had destroyed all its chemical weapons stockpiles in 2014 under the supervision of the OPCW.

    On April 11, Trump tweeted that Russia should "get ready" for "smart" US missiles in Syria.

    Meanwhile, US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis admitted on April 12 that the Pentagon did not have evidence that either chlorine or sarin had been used in Douma. According to The New York Times, on April 12, Mattis "pushed for more evidence of President Bashar al-Assad's role in a suspected chemical attack" citing the threat of a wider war.

    However, on the very next day, the US and its allies, the UK and France, conducted a massive strike on Syria, using over 100 cruise and surface-to-air missiles. During the briefing on the US military action in Syria later in the day, Mattis claimed that he was "confident" that the Syrian government was responsible for the attack.

    Turkish President Erdogan praised the US-led coalition's strikes on Syria, claiming it was a message to President al-Assad.

    "With the joint operation by US, UK and France on Saturday, the Syrian regime received the message that its massacres wouldn't be left unanswered," Erdogan said.

    The views and opinions expressed by the speakers do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    Tags:
    alleged chemical attack, airstrike, The Syrian war, Syrian Arab Army, Pentagon, James Mattis, Donald Trump, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Douma, Turkey, United States, Russia, Middle East
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