World Winners and losers in the battle for Syria's northeast
Turkey says ground forces are advancing in northern Syria
CEYLANPINAR, Turkey (AP) — Turkish ground forces pressed their advance against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria on Thursday, Turkey's Defense Ministry said, launching airstrikes and unleashing artillery shelling on Syrian towns and villages the length of its border. The Turkish invasion, now in its second day, has been widely condemned around the world. The Turkish invasion, now in its second day, has been widely condemned around the world. In northern Syria, residents of the border areas scrambled in panic on Wednesday as they tried to get out on foot, in cars and with rickshaws piled with mattresses and a few belongings.
After years battling to assert the Kremlin's power on the international stage, Vladimir Putin is now on what seems like a.
On Tuesday, Kremlin-backed forces further stepped up to fill the vacuum left in northern Syria by the US. Russian military police units patrolled the contact line between Syrian and Turkish forces, while Putin-backed Bashar al-Assad troops gained full control of the town of Manbij and surrounding areas, according to a Russian defense ministry statement published on its website.
Erdogan sees no issues in Kobani after Syrian deployment, welcomes U.S. withdrawal
Erdogan sees no issues in Kobani after Syrian deployment, welcomes U.S. withdrawalEarlier on Monday, Syrian army troops entered the town of Tel Tamer in northeastern Syria, according to state media, after Damascus reached an agreement with the Kurdish-led forces in the region to deploy into the area to counter an attack by Turkey.
The fast-shifting geopolitical sands have already handedto the pro-Moscow Assad government who opportunistically forged a new alliance with US-abandoned Kurds over the weekend.
The unfolding events in northern Syria come after Moscow stayed the course with its ally Assad despite international criticism and sanctions, leaving it as thethe Syrian Kurds from a Turkish onslaught. With the US withdrawal increasingly , it is the Russians who look like the only reliable allies in this fight.
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President Trump’s acquiescence to Turkey’s move to send troops deep inside Syrian territory has in only one week’s time turned into a bloody carnage, forced the abandonment of a successful five-year-long American project to keep the peace on a volatile border, and given an unanticipated victory to four American adversaries: Russia, Iran, the Syrian government and the Islamic State. Rarely has a presidential decision resulted so immediately in what his own party leaders have described as disastrous consequences for American allies and interests.
It was against this backdrop that Putin toured the capitals of two key Gulf states -- the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday and Saudi Arabia on Monday.
In Saudi -- one of America's closest allies -- the Russian president received a warm welcome during his first visit to the kingdom in over a decade. The Kremlin called it a "return visit" after Saudi's King Salman visited Moscow in 2017 to broaden the key oil producers' relationship.
It is a "natural partnership," one Russian official told me ahead of this week's state visit. The "world's biggest oil exporters cooperating to stabilize the markets".
But the significance of this burgeoning Russia-Saudi friendship should not be understated or limited to just conversations about oil.
Russia is, after all, a close ally of. It fights alongside Iranian forces in Syria, and has close diplomatic and economic ties with the Islamic Republic.
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Speaking after the meeting, King Salman said he appreciated "Russia's effective role in the region and around the world," according to remarks reported by Saudi state media.
The statement underlines that this state visit was a well-timed diplomatic coup, placing Putin at the center of the region's geopolitics.
It's what Putin has been pushing for all along.
But the warmness of Saudi's embrace of Russia can also be seen as a warning from the kingdom to the US.
There is growing criticism among US lawmakers of Saudi conduct, like the brutal killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year, which the kingdom blames on rogue operatives.
There's also alarm at the alleged targeting of civilians by Saudi-led forces in its war on Houthi rebels in Yemen, which the kingdom denies. US Congress even tried to cut off arms sales, on which Saudi Arabia depends, over the issue.
Of course, Saudi Arabia remains a staunch US ally with strong American protection. In fact, in the past month the US has announced the deployment of anto the country to bolster defenses amid growing tensions with Iran.
But criticism and concern about US commitment to the region is causing Saudi Arabia to look elsewhere, perhaps to more reliable and less judgmental friends.
The "days of a single strategic partner for the kingdom," one senior Saudi official told me, "are already gone".
And just like in northern Syria, Russia is ready and willing to step in.
Russian forces deploy at Syrian border under new accord .
Russian military police began patrols on part of the Syrian border Wednesday, quickly moving to implement an accord with Turkey that divvies up control of northeastern Syria. AKCAKALE, Turkey (AP) — Russian military police began patrols on part of the Syrian border Wednesday, quickly moving to implement an accord with Turkey that divvies up control of northeastern Syria. The Kremlin told Kurdish fighters to pull back from the entire frontier or else face being "steamrolled" by Turkish forces.
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'This Is in Many Ways a Jihad': Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell Explains Turkey's Invasion o
'This Is in Many Ways a Jihad': Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell Explains Turkey's Invasion of Syria.