Published On: Tue, Oct 22nd, 2019

Trump news: Putin warning issued by NATO insider as Erdogan pushes military ambitions | World | News

Erdogan launched the Turkish incursion into Syria to establish what he calls a ‘safe-zone’, aiming to clear the northeast Syria region of Kurdish forces, who form part of the Syrian Democratic Forces, and are deemed as a terrorist organisation in Ankara. Previously backed by US troops who have now withdrawn, the SDF have been forced to join forces with President Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian Armed Forces having been anti-regime throughout the conflict. Assad is backed by Putin who, according to a NATO insider, has gained control over proceedings in the region, with Moscow’s influence extending beyond its longstanding ally in Assad.

Former NATO deputy Jim Townsend told “Russia certainly has the upperhand in Syria now, Assad is dependent on Russia, the Turks are dependent on Russia for a lot of things, as is the Syrian Democratic Forces including the Kurds, and the Iranians are free to do what they want to do in Syria now.”

The Kremlin has backed President Assad as multiple opponents to his regime have emerged in the war.

The Syrian Democratic Forces have now reached agreement with Assad, but had previously been major opposition to his regime while backed by the US.

Putin also played a key role in the chipping away of ISIS forces in the region, with Russian airstrikes pulverising 5000 fighters in Syria, also killing over 8000 civilians since March 2011 according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in March 2019.

Turkey has grown closer to Moscow, despite having a frosty relationship with Damascus and being a NATO ally alongside the US and much of Europe.

In recent months, S-400 missiles have been received by Erdogan in a move that infuriated NATO allies, as it represented an opportunity for Putin and his military to gather intelligence on the F-35 fighter jet used by the US, the UK and other allies in the organisation.

Mr Townsend – a former NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe – went on to highlight that Washington’s influence in the Middle East has now decreased significantly, and that Trump’s withdrawal of troops will make Putin the key figure in the region.

READ MORE: Russia threatens ‘military’ response to NATO bases on its borders

Putin and Erdogan met today, with the Russian President claiming he wants more information regarding Erdogan’s Syria plans.

Erdogan launched the Turkish incursion into Syria to establish what he calls a ‘safe-zone’, however medics in the region have accused the Turkish military of using banned chemical weapons on civilians.

This accusation comes despite a five-day ceasefire that was agreed last week and expires on Tuesday evening. Ankara denies having chemical weapons in its arsenal.

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