20:11 GMT26 October 2020
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    Operation to Liberate Raqqa From Daesh (61)
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    Celalettin Yavuz, a military expert and former adviser to the chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party (PND) for foreign policy and security, spoke to Sputnik Turkey in an interview about the ongoing Astana talks and their importance for determining the future of the Syrian city of Raqqa after it is liberated from Daesh.

    The fifth two-day international meeting on the settlement of the conflict in Syria has begun in Astana. The main focus of the discussions was the implementation of the Memorandum on De-escalation Zones. 

    Despite the obvious importance of the Astana process, its uniqueness and its visible successes, the participation of the West in them continues to be limited. 

    According to Yavuz, Western countries should properly involve themseleves in this promising process, which would have a positive impact on the situation in Syria. 

    "Obviously, the main players in the Astana process are Russia, Turkey, Iran and to some extent, the Assad government. The countries of the West and especially the United States should also fully engage in this important and promising process,” Yavuz said.

    “However, despite the obvious success of the Astana process, the participation of the Western countries in it continues to be limited,” he added.

    The current round of the Astana talks is vital due to a number of factors. 

    Just before their start, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Turkey and met with key policymakers tasked with addressing the situation in Syria.

    “Another important feature of the current round of talks in Astana is that it is being held amid conditions when Daesh terrorists are losing their positions in Iraq and Syria. The Iraqi government, for example, claims that government troops will soon establish full control over Mosul,” the expert said.

    He further said that the Syrian forces in Raqqa are also claiming great success in the ongoing liberation of the city from Daesh.

    “The key role in this, as we know, was played by the airstrikes of the Russian military aircraft, which hit the main targets of the terrorist group in this zone. Therefore, we can assume that the operation for the liberation of Raqqa will not last long. But what will happen afterwards? It is still unknown who will control these areas after the complete destruction of Daesh,” Yavuz said.

    The expert further said that Turkey cannot trust the US currently due to its support for the Kurdish self-defense groups (YPG). 

    “The letter by the US Secretary of Defense James Mattis, which became public, stating that after the victory of the US in Raqqa, it would no longer use Kurds and weapons delivered to the Kurdish detachments would allegedly not be used against Turkey, did not help the matter,” Yavuz stressed.

    On the contrary, Ankara became even more afraid of the implementation of the US plan in the region. 

    “Thus, Washington's desire to achieve its ambitions in Syria at all costs, threatens not only the current situation in the Arab Republic but its future as well,” Yavuz concluded.

    Topic:
    Operation to Liberate Raqqa From Daesh (61)

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    future of Syria, liberation, interview, war, Astana talks on Syria, Daesh, Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Syria, Raqqa
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