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    Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during the monthly Mukhtars meeting (local administrators) at the Presidential Complex in Ankara on February 10, 2016

    Bitter Pill for Erdogan: Russia Leaves Turkey a Helpless Spectator in Syria

    © AFP 2017/ ADEM ALTAN
    Middle East
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    It is Moscow which is running the game in Syria: nailed to the ground by Russia’s S-400 air defense systems and state-of-the–art SU-35 fighters, Turkey is now left in the role of a helpless spectator, while the Kremlin is playing yet another of its cards, according to the French newspaper Le monde.

    Turkey is already unable to get in the way of Russia's strategy in Syria.

    “Ankara has been left in the role of a helpless spectator of the final phase of the Russian plan to help its ally Bashar Assad to remain in the saddle, which it began in September 2015,” says the newspaper.

    “Turkey is suddenly being ousted from Syrian land,” it states.

    The recent gains of the Syrian government forces have come as a severe blow to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who made the ousting of President Assad the “alpha and omega” of his policy in Syria.

    The pill is even more bitter for Erdogan, as, devoid of any leverage on the ground, he is forced to watch its protégé, the Turkmen of Bayirbucak and the jihadists of Al-Nusra Front are being shelled by Russian Forces.

    Meanwhile, Ankara has been nailed to the ground by Russia’s S-400 air defense systems and its state-of-the-art SU-35 jet fighters, deployed to Syria after the downing of its SU-24 bomber above Syrian territory.

    Meanwhile, the Kremlin is playing yet another of its cards: the leadership of the Syrian Kurds has opened their first foreign office in Moscow, preferring Russia over Washington and Western Europe.

    Moscow can now “kill two birds with one stone”, the newspaper says, as it stokes the fire in Turkey, which considers the Syrian Democratic Unity Party (PYD) as an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), its major adversary since 1984.

    And it is driving a wedge into the Turkish-American relationship, which is soaring over the PYD issue following Erdogan’s ultimatum to the US to choose between Turkey and PYD as a partner on the ground in Syria.

    The Kurds are striving to unite their territories in Syria, and Moscow “the current master of the Syrian game” could hardly turn them down, the newspaper concludes.

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    Tags:
    military presence, operation, game, Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Al-Nusra Front, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Bashar al-Assad, Turkey, Russia, Syria
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