Syria a Major Flashpoint Risking Greater War
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
Years of Geneva, Astana and Sochi talks failed to end years of US-led aggression in Syria - greater war more likely ahead than diplomatic resolution.
Israel upped the stakes by launching multiple attacks on Syrian targets days earlier.
Hardline Netanyahu minister Yuval Steinitz warned of measures if Damascus crossed Tel Aviv-drawn "red lines" - relating to Iranian and Hezbollah involvement in aiding Assad combat US-supported terrorists.
Steinitz absurdly claimed Syrian and Hezbollah forces are serving Iranian interests. Russia and Iran vowed to continue anti-terrorism efforts undeterred.
Israeli military intelligence-connected DEBKAfile (DF) claimed Russia and Iran are training a "rapid deployment force," comprised of 5,000 Shia fighters.
It true, it's to help combat US-supported terrorists. DF turned truth on its head, saying it's "to expand the front against Israel in both Syria and Lebanon."
Russia and Iran intend no hostile actions against the Jewish state. They're focused on helping Assad defeat US-supported terrorists.
Turkey is outraged over Washington's support for YPG Kurdish fighters, including its intention to create a 30,000 border security force, largely comprised from their ranks.
The Pentagon requested $300 million to train and equip so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), comprised of anti-government Kurdish YPG fighters and Arab terrorists.
Erdogan said Washington's intention to keep funding SDF forces "will affect Turkey's decisions."
Ahead of Rex Tillerson's visit on Thursday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said "(t)ies with the US are at very critical point. We will either fix these relations or they will break completely," adding:
"Missing trust needs to be restored. The reason for that missing trust is the US."
"Our demands from the US are clear and have already been conveyed. We no longer want to hear about promises. We want to hear about concrete steps."
Ankara wants Washington to stop arming YPG Kurds, take back weapons supplied, demand their forces withdraw from Manbij to east of the Euphrates, and cease cooperating with them.
Cavusoglu accused the Trump administration of "not touching ISIL members in Syria." Last November, Erdogan's chief advisor Yalcin Topcu told local media "(i)t is time to reconsider our membership in NATO."
"We do not need an organization that displays in every possible way its hostile attitude towards its member. The issue of our presence in that organization should be urgently considered in the Turkish parliament."
Separately, AMN news said "(c)lear-cut evidence has emerged that the United States is retraining jihadist militants - most of them surrendered ISIS members as well as fighters of other militant groups with an ideology similar to that of ISIS - in east Syria and re-branding them as 'democratic forces.' "
Washington is forming a Syrian Democratic Forces offshoot called the Deir Ezzor Military Council (DMC), AMN explained - saying it's a joint CIA/State Department operation, separate from the Pentagon.
Last December, Russia's General Staff accused the Pentagon of training terrorists at its illegally established At Tanf area base in southern Syria - calling the area a staging ground for US armed struggle against the Syrian government, using ISIS and other terrorists.
At the time, Russian General Staff chief General Valery Gerasimov said US special forces airlifted ISIS terrorists from Deir Ezzor to At Tanf.
Regime change remains Washington's objective. Conflict continues, resolution unattainable as long as US aggression on Syria continues - directly and through proxy terrorist foot soldiers.
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