01:13 GMT +328 March 2017
    A man rides a bicycle past burning tyres, which activists said are used to create smoke cover from warplanes, in Aleppo, Syria August 1, 2016

    'It's Hard to Discuss Peace in Syria When US Constantly Changes Policy'

    © REUTERS/ Abdalrhman Ismail
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    The United States, Turkey and some European countries are sending mixed signals when it comes to Syria, which is making it challenging to resolve the years-long crisis that has claimed more than 280,000 lives and left millions displaced, US journalist and columnist specializing in intelligence and international affairs Wayne Madsen told Sputnik.

    "We see mixed signals coming from many different quarters, not only Washington, but Ankara as well. And it's very hard to discuss potential peace deals when you've got constantly changing policies emanating from Washington, Ankara and of course the Western European countries," he observed.

    Ankara has recently made a U-turn in its foreign policy, highlighting the need to make more friends. This strategy has seen Turkish leadership make overtures to Moscow, Tehran and even Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom Erdogan has viewed as an opponent since the war erupted in Syria in 2011.

    Turkey previously was focused on providing assistance to radical groups trying to overthrow Assad, an approach that has significantly contributed to the chaos in the war-torn Arab country.

    Most recently, Ankara launched a ground operation in northern Syria, saying that it is aimed at resolving the crisis. Critics point out that Turkey's military adventure will in fact make things more complicated.

    Interestingly, the campaign, dubbed Operation Euphrates Shield, was launched on the same day that US Vice President Joe Biden visited Ankara.

    "We see mixed signals coming out of Washington. Vice President Biden was recently in Turkey and he was quite emphatic that the Syrian Kurds could not move any further to the West from where they were. We see that the Turks now have sent military forces into Syria. They say they are to counter [Daesh] but in reality they are primarily attacking the Syrian Kurds as they are also doing with the Turkish Kurds," he said.

    President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other Turkish officials said that the offensive was meant to remove Daesh from the border area and particularly the Syrian town of Jarablus, but they also noted that the campaign was meant to prevent the Syrian Kurds from taking more areas, particularly to the west of the Euphrates, under control.

    Turkey is concerned that the Syrian Kurds will link border areas that they control into a single zone, essentially creating an autonomous entity between the two countries.

    Madsen further commented on the state of relations between the US and Turkey that have been overshadowed by an unsuccessful attempt on July 15 to depose Erdogan and the West's reserved reaction to the failed military coup.

    "Biden of course is doing everything possible to keep these relations intact," Madsen said.

    Ankara has been particularly discontent with the US for not extraditing reclusive cleric Fethullah Gülen, who has lived in a self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999. Erdogan and his supporters have said that Gülen was behind the coup.

    This, according to the journalist, has created "quite a dilemma" for the United States which claims that it champions human rights but is actually sending encouraging signals when it comes to the preacher's extradition.

    The US "said that it is working on the extradition request when in fact Gülen is in the United States with a green card. He has historically been protected by the CIA. Again this sends a disturbing signal to people in the world. Can they really trust the United States? Can they trust the US promises of political asylum? There are a lot of questions right now about the US policy," Madsen observed.


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    Syrian crisis, Syrian Kurds, military operation in Syria, Syrian conflict, bilateral relations, Operation Euphrates Shield, coup attempt in Turkey, Fethullah Gülen, Bashar al-Assad, Joe Biden, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, Syria, United States
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    • Jammy
      But Russia too has changed policy and given Turkey the green light to invade parts of Syria in an effort to kiss and make up.

      Land inside Syria belongs to the Syrians and no one including Turkey should have anyone inside the country without being invited in by the elected government IMHO.

      The US might had done the dirty to it's Kurdish friends but to me it looks like Russia has done the dirty to it's Syrian friends and has sold them out
    • avatar
      Russia also playing on the 2 sides, one day i want to go for it,and one day i want to discuss.
      At the end of the day Russia knows perfectly that he is discussing with terrorists, when this game will stop?
    • avatar
      Jammy you are entitled to a opinion even if it seems extremely naive and negative towards Russia.
      It cannot be forgotten for one moment without Russia's intervention Syria would have been overrun by now with Christian settlements wiped out and the country subjected to brutal murderous rule of a bunch of madmen.

      By now they would be well and truly infested in Lebanon and stretching Iran at there borders.
      Russia is entitled to do as it pleases without the hideous remarks or amateur opinion of players like you in other words take a reality check on yourself.

      And give Russia the respect it rightfully deserves.
    • avatar
      anne00mariein reply toivanwa88(Show commentHide comment)
      ivanwa88, Well said, None of us know what goes on behind closed doors, thankfully, we just summarise and then get impatient. It is a game of poker, nobody showing their hands, but all wanting the bigger prize and trying to come out of it without loss of face.

      Personally, Russia has kept us on our feet with 'shock, awe and perfect timing' and I cannot see them taking their eyes of the bigger picture.
    • NATOisEVIL
      I know Russia doesn't want to start a world war, so there fore has to be a bit careful not splatting to many Yankees. But why on earth try to work together with them? they only wish you death and destruction any way. I hope Russia release a huge campaign whipping the thugs of the surface of the earth, together with the Syrians, clean the country, and then help them protect their border.
      That would stop the "big mouths" of Washington, or rather the opposite, they would cry and scream about how aggressive the Russians are and so on. But that shouldn't bother any one.
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